News Article

Nintendo Issues a Statement on Its Foxconn Under-Age Workers Investigation

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Confirms violation and further on-site inspections

Last week there was some unpleasant news that Nintendo was forced to confront, with the revelations that manufacturing partner Foxconn employed under-age interns to manufacture Wii U. Foxconn accepted responsibility and admitted that under-age employees had been hired and subsequently released, while Nintendo for its part stated that it would investigate the allegations that this had taken place at a facility producing its products.

Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's senior director of Corporate Communications, has now issued a statement following Nintendo's investigation and dialogue with Foxconn.

Nintendo was concerned to learn that underage individuals had been working at a Foxconn facility in China where components for some Nintendo products are produced. Nintendo investigated the incident and determined that this was a violation of the Nintendo Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Procurement Guidelines that all Nintendo production partners are required to follow, based on relevant laws, international standards and guidelines.

Foxconn has taken full responsibility for this incident and has moved quickly to ensure that all affected individuals no longer work at Foxconn. In fact, Foxconn's own policies prohibit the employment of underage individuals and the company has pledged to Nintendo via direct communications to improve its process of enforcing this policy to avoid any similar issues in the future.

As one of many companies that work with Foxconn to enhance CSR along the whole supply chain, we take this issue very seriously. As part of our ongoing procurement process, Nintendo staff will continue to carry out on-site inspections of our production partners in order to understand the actual on-site conditions and to promote socially responsible procurement.

There are no real surprises in this statement, with its main purpose seemingly to confirm and remove doubt that these school interns were indeed working on Nintendo manufacturing. Promises of further site inspections and enforcement of standards is positive, too, as long as it's genuinely enforced to improve Foxconn's practices.

We've already written about the uncomfortable truth that affordable consoles come at a cost, and there'll be plenty of attention on whether these conditions and Foxconn's standards genuinely improve and avoid controversy in the coming months.


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User Comments (14)



Knux said:

It's good to see that Nintendo is stomping down on this BS.



Burning_Spear said:

I would have liked to have seen something more strongly worded, like we're going to explore other manufacturing options and will proceed based on Foxconn's ability to demonstrate that this issue has been resolved and will not happen again.



NintyMan said:

Here's hoping that Nintendo can make a difference. The way companies in China can be, it'll take steady enforcement and genuine accountability from Foxconn to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.



TheRavingTimes said:

Way to tell those spoiled and corrupted businessmen. I can only hope that this serves as an immediate threat to all corporations in the future.



ajcismo said:

Good move by Nintendo. This sort of thing has been around forever, but really didn't start to come to light until the late 80s (anyone else remember the Jordan Shoe controversy?). Lets hope they keep their promise on the QC.



McHaggis said:

In all fairness, this is exactly the kind of response you'd expect from any high profile company. Nintendo aren't exactly going to turn around and say "it's not our company, it's not our problem". Still, it's a reassuring message, even if it does read a bit like a canned response.



Capt_N said:

@Burning_Spear: Yes, I would have too.

@McHaggis: It does read like a canned response.

I really doubt that Nintendo is/are going to do something, anything, about this matter, aside from mostly, & predominately PR clean-up. Granted, they might do something, but I fear it will be not much more, than a light proverbial smack on the hand.



XCWarrior said:

I'm going to keep buying Nintendo, but I as a member of the media, I can tell you this is just a blanket PR release and they are going to keep employing the children. But as long as they make the Wii U's correctly, not many people are going to care.




For the record from my point of view. There should NEVER HAVE BEEN no under-age workers working on manufacturing Wii U consoles to begin with. Not only does it make Foxconn look bad, but Nintendo also. Even if they did do the right thing here as the article points out. Not only that, but I don't get why Nintendo didn't switch to another manufacturing company to manufacture the Wii U after all this crap of a mess happened? What gives?



Chunky_Droid said:

General PR release by Nintendo. There's not a lot else that they can do, especially if they're selling the Wii U at a loss. They need to survive as a company, and all they can do is investigate Foxconn and ensure that no underage workers are making the consoles, and do it regularly.

I don't condone the use of underage workers, so please don't put words in my mouth. As far as I know Nintendo really don't have many other options for cheap manufacturing in cheaper countries like China to switch to, especially this close to launch.

I feel bad for the kids that were a part of all this, I know I worked in a factory with my dad when I was 13, but that was voluntary, it wasn't totally hard work (just stamping some labels and folding some boxes), the hours weren't long, and I got cash in hand to buy games that my parents wouldn't buy for me.

I also understand that me working in a factory when I was 13 is illegal in Australia, but what are ya gonna do?



BestBuck15 said:

That's great news, and me thinking Nintendo didn't care. We can all now chill out in our nice homes with our Nintendo products and feel that we've done something good cause, ya know God forbid we should feel bad, happy in the knowledge all them under 16 workers have been sacked and are probably starving now.

@ChunkyDroid I live in Ireland and I started working when I was 13 on my summer holidays



Araknie said:

Anythings said on the news from the start of the internet era is more relevant than before and never goes away so if they said that stay sure they will do as they said.



bahooney said:

@Burning_Spear I agree, but Nintendo is probably saving a butt-load of cash by outsourcing production. We'd all like to think the company is roses and lollipops, but they're a business- a business that's actually not doing so hot right now. :< They have to cut corners, methinks.

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