A record number of workers' compensation claims were filed in Japan in fiscal 2019 for mental illness caused by workplace stress, the health ministry said Friday.
The number of compensation claims filed totaled 2,060, an increase of 240 from the previous year, while 509 claims were successful. The figures for both claims filed and those that were successful were the highest since the ministry began compiling data in fiscal 1983.
Women made 952 claims, a rise of 164 from the previous year and higher than the number of claims filed by men. Among successful claims, 88 related to cases of suicide and attempted suicide.
A total of 79 cases pertained to bullying and assault, while 42 were related to workplace harassment including sexual harassment.
By industry, 48 cases, the highest number, related to the social welfare and nursing sector, followed by medical care at 30 cases, and cargo and transportation at 29 cases.
Young people appeared particularly vulnerable, with claims filed by those in their 20s increasing by 100 from a year earlier.
A total of 216 claims relating to brain and heart damage due to overwork were recognized, with almost a third filed by workers in cargo and transportation. Services and food workers were also significantly affected.
Of the 216 claims, 86 cases were recognized as due to karoshi, or death from overwork.
In Japan, death as a result of cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease is attributed to karoshi when an individual has worked more than 100 hours of overtime a month or an average of 80 hours of overtime between two to six months prior to the manifestation of symptoms.
Looking at the claimants' average monthly overtime, 33 people worked 120 hours to 140 hours of overtime a month before the manifestation of symptoms, while 73 people worked between 80 to 100 hours of overtime from between two to six months before.
Compensation was approved in nine cases of workers with flexible job hours that involved mental disease, cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease, and one case of karoshi. The individuals worked as system engineers or in other technical fields.© KYODO