Human Rights Initiatives

Human Rights Initiatives Human Rights Initiatives

Basic approach

SoftBank Corp. respects human rights in accordance with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” and other international standards. In addition to prohibiting all discrimination and harassment based on age, gender, nationality, and disability, we engage in proactive initiatives aimed at promoting diversity which enables diverse human resources to display their individuality and abilities.

Promotion system

Under the “SoftBank Human Rights Policy” approved by the board of directors, SoftBank's activities to promote human rights awareness are carried out primarily by the “Human Rights Committee” which is led by the President and Representative Director and composed of executives in charge of Consumer, Wholesale, Technology units, Finance, Business development, Corporate as well as the Heads of the Human Resources Division, General Affairs Division, Legal and Risk Management Division and the CSR Division. This committee plans and implements human rights training for the internal development of human rights awareness, manages human rights due diligence, investigates and handles possible human rights violations which are reported to the point of contact, and other daily activities to promote human rights education within the SoftBank Corp. and among external stakeholders.

Human rights due diligence

Human rights due diligence process

In accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we have established a human rights due diligence process to ensure that we respect the human rights of all stakeholders affected by our business activities.

Human rights due diligence process

Mapping human rights risks

Based on the exchange of opinions with experts, we have mapped out the human rights issues that have a risk of being caused by our business activities or business relationships. The following items are considered to be human rights risks that we should prioritize and we have identified and assessed the actual and potential human rights impacts of these risks based on our human rights due diligence process.

For potential risks, we will take appropriate measures to mitigate them and for actual human rights impacts, we will work to solve the problems by removing negative impacts and if necessary, provide appropriate remedies to the victims.

The mapping items will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Mapping human rights risks

Conduct an assessment to identify human rights risks

As part of our human rights due diligence, we conduct assessments to identify human rights risks in key segments.
The key themes and segments covered in the assessment for fiscal 2020 are as follows.

Key Themes in Assessment
  1. Ⅰ.
    Basic attitude toward human rights
  2. Ⅱ.
    Respect for human rights and prohibition of discrimination
  3. Ⅲ.
    Avoidance of complicity (encouragement) in human rights violations
  4. Ⅳ.
    Respect for indigenous peoples' livelihoods and local communities
Targeted segments
  1. 1.
    1. (1)
      Major suppliers
    2. (2)
      Sales agents operating SoftBank shops and Ymobile shops
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
  4. 4.

Human Rights Assessment for the Value Chain

As part of our value chain initiatives, in fiscal 2020, we conducted a self-assessment of our human rights initiatives for our major suppliers, who are our continuous suppliers and our sales agents who operate SoftBank and Ymobile stores, which are our main sales channels and points of contact with customers. In cases where human rights risks are identified in this assessment, efforts are being made to resolve and correct the problem. The assessment will be conducted regularly, and we will continue to monitor and propose improvements in order to further reduce risks.

Major suppliers

In fiscal 2020, we conducted a survey using the CSR Procurement Self-assessment Questionnaire created by the United Nations Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ) in 2017.

Human rights Assessment Results for the Value Chain

Sales agents operating stores

Self-assessments were conducted on 79 sales agents who operate 77% of all SoftBank and Ymobile stores, or approximately 2,400 stores. As a result, no actual human rights impacts were found. On the other hand, for the 24 companies that were found to have potential human rights risks, we asked them to strengthen their efforts to formulate human rights policies and consider LGBTQ issues. We also provided reference information on human rights initiatives to the other 55 companies and asked them to further promote their initiatives.

Human Rights Assessment for Sales Agents Operating SoftBank and Ymobile Stores (PDF)

Human rights assessment for SoftBank employees

As part of our human rights due diligence, we conduct personnel interview measures and questionnaire surveys with our employees, and take direct or indirect remedial measures when problems are observed.

Conducting personal interviews with employees In order to understand the conditions of our employees, our human resources department has been conducting personal interviews with all employees since 2015 (a total of 23,700 employees). If any human rights issues are found during the interviews, we have promptly taken corrective measures in cooperation with the relevant departments.
We will continue these interviews and dialogue with employees to understand the actual situation in the workplace and make improvements.
Conducted a human rights survey of employees In 2020, we conducted a questionnaire survey of 17,300 employees to promote understanding of our human rights policy and to confirm whether or not human rights are violated in the workplace. As a result, there were no responses that called for redress for human rights violations in the workplace. On the other hand, for the 260 employees who were found to have potential human rights risks, we have informed them of the consultation service and are working to prevent human rights violations. We will continue to conduct this survey every year and monitor it on an ongoing basis in order to detect damage caused by human rights violations and provide prompt remedy, as well as to mitigate the risk of human rights violations through awareness-raising and training.

Human rights assessment for group companies and affiliated companies

An assessment was conducted on the Company, 25 consolidated companies, and 20 major affiliates to confirm the status of their efforts to establish a system for human rights, prohibit forced labor, prohibit discrimination, prohibit harassment, respect the right to organize, prohibit child labor, and other important issues related to human rights. As a result, no actual human rights impacts were found. On the other hand, we have requested improvements from five companies that were found to have potential human rights risks. In the future, we plan to use the results of the assessment to make improvements at each individual company and to work closely with other group companies.

Human rights assessment for Joint Venture investees

In addition to human rights assessments for existing business activities, we also conduct human rights assessments for new business activities from the perspective of respect for human rights. The assessment items cover important issues related to human rights, such as prohibition of forced labor, prohibition of discrimination, prohibition of harassment, respect for the right to organize, and prohibition of child labor, and passing the assessment has become one of our investment criteria.

Investigation on possible business human rights risk topics

In fiscal 2020, as part of our human rights due diligence, we conducted a survey on our efforts to reduce human rights risks, focusing on topics that we believe pose particularly high human rights risks to our business.

Based on the advice from experts, the themes we focused on are as follows.

  1. Measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus to staff and operators working in stores and call centers
  2. Appropriate privacy management for user information
  3. Consideration for the elderly, children and junior generation, and people with disabilities
  4. Safety management for construction workers involved in the construction of base stations

Measures to prevent the spread of new coronaviruses to staff and operators working in stores and call centers

There are 3,100 SoftBank and Ymobile stores nationwide. In some cases, customers spend a long time in the store to receive information, and in other cases, customers are asked to operate the handset when they subscribe to a service. At Corona Perfection, we not only want our customers to feel safe, but we also want to ensure the safety of our employees working in our stores.

Therefore, we identified the measures to prevent infection by the coronavirus as a human rights risk and confirmed our response.

In addition to efforts to prevent the spread of infection among customers visiting SoftBank stores and Ymobile stores, we are taking various measures to prevent the spread of infection among the staff working there, such as conducting monthly saliva PCR tests. We are also taking measures to prevent the spread of infections, such as installing panels between seats, keeping a safe distance, and keeping keyboards and mice occupied, in addition to conducting the same tests for operators working in our call centers.

Implementation of appropriate privacy management for user information

As a telecommunications carrier, we hold privacy information such as the confidentiality of communications, terminal location information, terminal information and web activity history. We recognize the management of such privacy information as a human rights issue specific to our business.

As a result of this investigation, we have confirmed that we are appropriately managing privacy information through the following measures.

Person in charge and
organizational structure

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible for formulating policies and regulations regarding privacy information, monitoring their operation and providing employee training. The CISO is responsible for the formulation of policies and regulations regarding privacy information, monitoring the operation of such policies, regulations, employee training and has established a system to centrally manage the operation of privacy information.

Information Security

Establishing a privacy policy and
obtaining prior consent

We have established a policy regarding the privacy information we hold, and disclose our privacy policy, terms of service, terms of use. On our website for the handling of user information and notify customers and obtain their consent in advance when we use their information. In addition, we have appointed a person in charge of privacy information within each business division to manage the handling of privacy information.

Information Security Policy Privacy
Handling of Personal Information

Preventing human rights violations
through risk assessment

When using privacy information, we strive to prevent human rights violations by assessing not only whether the information will benefit our customers and serve the public interest, but also whether it will infringe on privacy and cause disadvantages to our customers.

Protecting Customer Information

Education Training

In 2020, we conducted information security / cyber security e-learning training for directors, employees, accepted seconded employees, contracted employees, temporary employees, and part-time employees.

Continuous Security Enhancement

Consideration for the elderly / children and juniors / people with disabilities

As a telecommunications carrier that provides public services, we believe that we have a responsibility to provide services that all users can use with peace of mind. In particular, the support and protection provided by telecommunications carriers is effective in respecting the human rights of older people, children and junior citizens, and people with disabilities.

As a result of this survey, we have confirmed that we are taking the following actions to ensure that we are appropriately taking care of these people.

Measures to support the elderly Kantan smartphone 2

SoftBank's Kantan Smartphone 2, for which we decided the specifications and entrusted the production to a device manufacturer, was developed to help hesitant users shift from feature phones to smartphones, and to protect elderly people from criminal behavior.

For the Senior Generation

Protection of children and junior generations Kids Phone 2 / Junior smartphone

To respect the rights of child users in their formative years, we have developed and provide Kids Phone 2 for elementary school students and Junior Smartphone for older children as devices and services designed with safeguards geared to each age group while protecting users from behavior that infringes human rights in networks.

Safety Concerns

Protection of people with disabilities Assist Guide

To respect the rights of children in need, we provide Assist Guide, a smartphone app that helps to facilitate their everyday life.

Understanding Disability

Safety management for construction workers involved in the construction of base stations and other facilities

We are actively upgrading our wireless base stations to further improve the quality of our calls.In FY21, we plan to open 50,000 5G base stations, and our business partner a  total of 9,000 workers are expected to be involved in construction work nationwide, mainly among telecommunications construction contractors.

Cell phone wireless base stations are often installed on steel towers and buildings and they also require working outdoors in a natural environment, so it is important to create a system to protect the safety of workers and ensure reliable operation at the site. Therefore, we positioned the safety of workers involved in base station construction as a human rights risk specific to the business, and confirmed that appropriate measures were being taken through the following initiatives.

Grievance Mechanism

Three consultation services

We have established a consultation service for all stakeholders involved in our company (customers, suppliers, supply chain workers, etc.) and full-time employees, and have established a system to ensure that human rights issues related to our business activities are known and addressed. During FY 2020, there were 12 cases of human rights violations caused by harassment and other forms of human rights violations which resulted in the disciplinary punishment of those involved. In every case, all facts were investigated in a way which would not make the persons seeking counsel subject to retaliation, and the situations were handled in the appropriate manner according to the internal company rules while also taking measures to prevent a recurrence of similar cases.

Human Rights Consultation Service

We have established a consultation service to receive opinions and consultations regarding human rights from all of our stakeholders. We will immediately conduct an investigation of any problems that are pointed out to us through the consultation service. In the unlikely event that an investigation confirms the fact of a human rights violation., we will promptly provide relief to the victim, correction and implement measures to prevent recurrence.

In addition, personal information, opinions, and consultation contents are strictly controlled and will not be leaked outside the company without the consent of the consultant.

If you have any inquiries or comments, please feel free to contact us.

SoftBank Human Rights Consultation Service
Phone Number 0800-888-6554 (toll free)
Hours 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m weekdays (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, Japanese national holidays and New Year holidays)
  • *
    Please note that the consultation will be accepted at the counter and the person in charge will contact you.

Compliance Hotline

The Compliance Hotline was permanently established to all SoftBank employees (Board members, full-time employees, assigned employees, part-time employees, contract employees, temporary employees)as a consultation service regarding compliance violations including human rights problems. In order to protect the privacy of those who are consulting with the hotline, anonymous consultations are also supported. Furthermore, SoftBank Corp.'s hotline was verified to be in conformance with the “Guidelines for Private Enterprises Regarding the Development and Operation of Internal Reporting Systems Based on the Whistleblower Protection Act (December 9, 2016, Consumer Affairs Agency)” and was registered under the Internal Reporting Systems certification (self-declaration of compliance) of the Consumer Affairs Agency on February 28, 2020.

Details to Compliance Hotline

Harassment consultation service

The SoftBank Group takes reports of any kind of harassment seriously and takes appropriate action, including fact-finding investigations, remedial measures and measures to prevent recurrence, while maintaining confidentiality to ensure that the consulter is not disadvantaged. Based on this policy, we have established a permanent consultation service for all employees (executives, regular employees, employees on loan, contract employees, temporary employees) regarding acts of harassment.

All cases reported through the consultation service will be investigated by the Human Resources Department with due consideration given to the protection of the privacy of the consulter. If the investigation confirms the fact of harassment, the Disciplinary Review Committee will deliberate on the punishment of the offender, and will promptly take corrective and remedial measures and implement appropriate measures to prevent recurrence. In addition, the contents of the consultation will be strictly controlled and will not be reported to any third party without the consent of the individual.

Major Initiatives

Stakeholder Dialogue

In 2020, we held two stakeholder dialogues in order to identify business-specific human rights issues. In this year's dialogues, we used the knowledge provided by experts to discuss the themes of “the role that telecommunication companies should play in respecting privacy” and “human rights issues brought about by technological development,” respectively. Through active discussions, we were able to clarify the role we should play in resolving human rights issues and the business-specific issues we should prioritize. Based on the results of this discussion, we will continue to consult with our stakeholders in order to identify business-specific human rights issues in response to current trends, as well as to enhance our efforts to address human rights issues that are closely related to our business, such as respect for privacy.

Implementation name Speaker Description
The First Stakeholder Dialogue Keichi Ushijima, a very diligent lecturer at Tohoku University Graduate School Communication Businesses are Respecting the Respect of the Public Service Providers
  • The current trends of human rights issues
  • Human rights risks that the company may assume
  • Ideas for our future initiatives
The Second Stakeholder Dialogue Daisuke Takahashi, Attorney at Law, Shinwa Sohgoh Law Offices Human rights challenges posed by technological developments.
  • Impact of AI and other technologies on human rights (human rights of vulnerable groups, privacy, freedom of expression.)
  • Significance of promoting efforts to address human rights issues (human rights due diligence, grievance mechanisms)

Human rights awareness training

The SoftBank Code of Conduct stipulates the respect for human rights and the prohibition of discrimination and harassment, and we conduct human rights enlightenment training for employees in order to foster an awareness of respect for human rights within the company. In addition to training for new employees and new managers by job level, employees in managerial positions and above receive regular training on how to deal with reports of bullying and harassment, as well as consultations, and training at the time of appointment.

Human rights awareness training

In October 2021, we received the highest “Gold” rating on the PRIDE Index*, an evaluation index for LGBT initiatives, for the fifth consecutive year.

  • *
    Indicators developed by the voluntary organization “work with Pride” For more information, please click here.

List of training programs to be implemented in FY2020

Training title Training conducted Training type
Compliance training for new employees Mid-career employees / new employees e learning training
Pledge to the SoftBank Code of Conduct All employees Other
Compliance training (orientation for mid-career employees) Mid-career employees Group training
Harassment Prevention Course (Power Harassment and Sexual Harassment) All employees e learning training
Harassment prevention course (LGBT) All employees e learning training
Training on work instructions/remote harassment in remote work All employees e learning training
Compliance Magazine (Reminder on remote harassment) All employees Other
Chief director or higher management position New management positions e learning training
Compliance training for senior management (harassment) New Management Training Group training
Compliance Test All employees e learning training

Promoting diversity

We are committed to providing opportunities and an environment where diverse human resources can demonstrate their individuality and abilities, regardless of age, gender, nationality, disability. Positions and compensation are determined based on fair evaluations of roles, achievements and abilities.

We aim to create an organization where each and every employee is united in their aspirations to realize our management philosophy, and where we can freely exchange ideas and create innovation while utilizing each other's strengths.

In order to promote diversity within the company, the Diversity Promotion Section, a dedicated organization in the Human Resources Division, is taking initiatives such as e-learning on unconscious bias for all employees and diversity management training for managers.

Efforts regarding overwork

For the purpose of compliance with the 36 agreements, we assess the risk of overwork occurring and take corrective measures.

Specifically, we use our attendance management system to simulate working hours on a monthly and annual basis, and for employees who are expected to work particularly long hours, we check the status of each individual employee, consider how to deal with the situation, and report successively to management in order to optimize working hours.

In addition, we conduct regular “service overtime questionnaires” for all employees to ascertain the actual situation, and conduct educational activities through “employee awareness surveys on overtime work. These efforts and the status of overtime work are regularly reported to management meetings and the Health and Safety Committee to confirm the effects of risk reduction and to further strengthen our efforts.

Participation in international initiatives

In order to further deepen our own human rights awareness activities, we have signed the United Nations Global Compact and are exchanging opinions with like-minded companies and external stakeholders. We participate in the UN Global Compact's “Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop” and engage in ongoing dialogue on human rights issues that we should recognize and address as a company.