The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I thought it was a misuse of my time to try to convince me that British teacher Neil Grainger is being treated unfairly by his former employer who declined to renew his work contract in the midst of his ongoing cancer treatments (“Bills mount for ‘fired’ teacher with cancer, HIV,” October 22). It’s true that failure to renew a contract is the usual way of firing an employee here. It gives the impression of a harmonious parting of the ways and allows both parties to boldly lie about the situation, thus pandering to the social harmony myth. So there is no misinterpretation about that. He was fired. But I don’t understand how Mr. Grainger could ever expect the company to rehire him - despite glowing reports on his work for Waseda University International Corp. when he was working at his peak - when it is obvious that he can no longer fulfill the work. At last, not as a full-time teacher. With no job, no income, and terrible medical expenses I understand his plight. But is any of that the fault or the responsibility of Waseda University International Corp.?
Almost two full columns of a five-column story were devoted to describing over-optimistically how well he worked, how successful the initial cancer treatment was, and how little it impinged on his work schedule. After that it was revealed that his cancer had spread, that he was facing even more medical procedures and eventual death, and in the midst of it he not only expected to keep his job but to get a promotion as well? I don’t get it. The company needs a teacher in the classroom, not in the hospital. Instead of being angry at the company let’s be angry at God. It works for me.
Published as "Don't blame Waseda for illness" in the Community Chest page on Tuesday, October 29, 2013.