It was wildly thought that Howard Stringer, a foreigner, was brought in to fire a bunch of people at Sony. Japanese companies traditionally bring in outsiders to fire folks, and Stringer, a foreigner, was even that further removed from the old boys' network.
This April, Kaz Hirai assumes Stringer's old job at Sony. He's a long-standing Sony employee, so the corporate blood letting is finished, right? Wrong, apparently.
A new article in Japanese magazine Sentaku details the "underhanded" corporate restructuring that's apparently going down at Sony. Long gone are the days of lifetime company employment.
Sony is moving away from manufacturing—as evident by the PS3 and PS Vita, which are not made in Japan by Sony. Rather, Sony has outsourced their production to China.
Moving away from production means that Sony needs to shed workers and those in development. Sony is apparently concentrating more on its software and network businesses.
What's more, during the past decade, Sony began beefing up its early retirement program throughout the company. This isn't surprising as many Japanese businesses started to do this, too.
Sony's personnel department, however, is apparently separating all low performing employees by different categories, such as candidate for retraining, candidate for administrative leave, candidate for an occupational change, candidate for simple desk work, etc. The rank for these employees differ, but they are all candidates for restructuring, and Sony's office of career development is apparently going through and weeding them out.
According to the article, a Sony personnel department source said the company is even using the company doctors to target those for early retirement by using mental health conditions to help either force workers into a leave of absence from which they don't return or simply recommend that they retire early as not to worsen their condition. Sony's moves are being called "underhanded".
Kotaku is following up with Sony and will update this post should the company comment.