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Rakuten Japan is asking all candidates to fill out the following forms before their first interview, including, for instance, itemized salary information from your current or previous position (verification [源泉徴収票] may be requested later) and your medical history.

http://global.rakuten.com/careers/files/sd/[Name][Rakuten]_Recruiting_questionnaire.doc (English, There is also a Japanese version of this document, but for some reason I am not able to post more than 2 links in this question)

http://global.rakuten.com/corp/careers/files/Health_Check_Sheet.xlsx (Japanese and English)

According to the Rakuten HR people these documents are “necessary in the selection process” i.e. you will not be able to continue the selection process without submitting this information.

According to the Rakuten Privacy Policy for Recruitment Activities that candidates must accept before submitting an online application, “…the Rakuten Group Company reserves the right to retain such information to the fullest extent required or permitted by law”, regardless of the results of the selection process.

Apparently sense of privacy is not among the dimensions along which Rakuten aims at “diversifying … the people we employ” (Hiroshi Mikitani, Market Place 3.0: Rewriting the Rules of Borderless Business, p.65). Is this just one of the remaining excesses deriving from Rakuten’s Japanese origins that will change somewhere along its way into “a truly global firm” (ibid.) or something that characterizes the entire corporate culture? Is it common – or legal – in Japan to require itemized salary information from your current or previous position and medical history as a precondition for continuing the selection process?

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Certainly in Australia it would be legal to ask; it would also be legal to discriminate on this basis (i.e. it is not discrimination on a protected basis). However, it would be culturally inappropriate. It is probably both legal and appropriate in Japan.

It is worth noting that a great chunk of culturally inappropriate behavior is not illegal.

For example, it would generally be legal for a current or previous employer who was not subject to the Privacy Act (most small business) to disclose your salary; they just don't.

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