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Late tonight (or early this morning as the case may be), Nintendo of Japan came forward to the media and stated it will be investigating the factory working conditions at Foxconn Technology Group. The company, whose Shenzhen factory location has played host to nearly fifteen worker suicides in a row during the past several weeks, is the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, and the company to whom Nintendo outsources the production of their Wii console. This announcement comes on the heels of reactions earlier this week by Dell and Apple, whose products also see production at Foxconn. Both released their own public statements of regret and sympathy, with Apple stating Wednesday that it would be launching a private investigation into the company’s reactions to the issue.

As a result, the timing of the Big N’s announcement arguably positions it as a pressure-induced PR move, and raises questions as to the degree of thoroughness with which they will probe Foxconn’s ranks to uncover any issues that may exist. But then, to add another degree of cynicism, one has to wonder if the interest of any of the “concerned” companies is rooted in concern for worker safety, or rather the security of their production schedule. I’d be willing to bet on a prevailing concern for the latter, but one can only hope that whatever the driving concern, worker safety will improve as a result – however indirect a result it may be.

Sony and Microsoft also actively outsource a variety of handheld and console system production to Foxconn, though no official statements on their behalf have been released.

Koku Gamer will keep you updated as the situation progresses, hopefully for the better.

Source [Kotaku via Marketwatch] [Update: If two’s company, and three’s a crowd, then Foxconn is dealing with a veritable mob of PR trouble right now. As reported by The China Post, both Sony and Nokia have added their names to the growing list of clients looking to ensure the public that they frown on the poor-to-the-point-of-deadly working conditions that may exist at the factory level of the company.

Nokia has ensured the public that they “are concerned and take this very seriously,” and will remain in “contact with Foxconn to ensure any issues are identified and addressed as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, Sony, likely looking to match Nintendo in all things including indignation, has gone a ‘step further’launching an investigation which they claim will “re-evaluate the working environment at Foxconn.”

As more and more statements of official outcry see the light of day, it’s hard not to feel like they’re all ripped out of the Madlibs PR Playbook, each as disingenuous as the next. It’s extremely easy to launch an “internal investigation,” because they tend to be like the benefits of Playstation Home: they don’t exist. What’s more, none of the companies seemed to express any indication that they intend to halt production, or even use their hefty business contracts as bargaining tools to see conditions improve.

I’m not claiming to know the intricacies of the various companies’ relationships with Foxconn, and I’m not so blindly idealistic as to pretend it would be feasible to just “take business elsewhere” en masse, but the “actions” of the various participant companies so far is laughable at best, and complicit at worst.

For more details regarding the ongoing debacle, including the sentiments of independent protesters, and Foxconn’s impending, presumably reactionary 20% wage increase refer to The China Post article.]

via The China Post: [Nokia, Sony raise concern over Foxconn]