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Court rejects naming firms where employees died due to overwork

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Japan's supreme court has turned down an appeal by a civic group demanding the government disclose the names of companies whose employees have died of overwork, according to a report.

The group wanted the Osaka Labor Bureau to name the companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation over employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work, Kyodo news said.

But the court rejected the demand, backing a decision by the Osaka high court which found identifying the companies could harm their reputation, Kyodo News reported over the weekend.

The civic group made their request to the bureau in 2009 and wanted it to cover work-related deaths for the previous seven years.

After the bureau decided against disclosure a month later, the group took the issue to court.

The Osaka District Court ordered disclosure, saying that doing so "would not lead to the identification of employees and would not immediately discredit the companies".

But the Osaka High Court overturned that decision, saying that certifying brain and heart diseases for worker compensation "does not necessarily mean the companies were negligent or violated laws but could undermine their reputation in society," the report said.

Japan's labor ministry investigates whether deaths are caused by excessive work if the victim had performed monthly overtime of 80 hours or more for the preceding six months, or 100 hours for the previous one month.

The number of deaths in Japan that are classified as "karoshi" or death by overwork has been hovering at around 200 annually in recent years, according to ministry data.

The cause of the deaths are usually strokes, heart attacks or suicides caused by mental disorders.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

63 Comments
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This is akin to failing to report human rights abuses.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

Mustn't upset our overlords. We are just a bunch of peasants here for their enrichment after all.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

The truth is that Japan has always been a corporatocracy rather than a democracy.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

This is a tough one. Sometimes a hard worker will die due to an illness or a condition that they were susceptible to or just had the bad luck of having a heart attach etc.

Naming the company, especially if it's not certain if the company was at fault can be quite damaging for them.

But alas, if any worker is working 60 or 80 hours of overtime a month that company SHOULD BE named and shamed.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

From the Feudal years where Samurai was life or death over you to Modern era where Bussinesses have control of life or death over you, what is next, Government? WAIT! THEY ALWAYS HAD LIFE OR DEATH CONTROL OVER YOU!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I have doubts about this "overwork" thing. Many of my ex-coworkers spent 12+ hours a day in the office, I can assure you "overwork" would be the wrong word to describe their activity. Also it should be noted they were not chained to their desks and were free to leave anytime, as I frequently did :)

0 ( +6 / -6 )

if any worker is working 60 or 80 hours of overtime a month that company SHOULD BE named and shamed

Setting the bar a bit low, aren't we? (sarcasm)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even though the Supreme Court backed the decision by the Osaka high court which found that identifying the companies could harm their reputation, that's only an abstract risk and should not be the reason not to identify the companies. Even in cases when the plaintiff wins in karoshi cases, it's treated as an individual problem and is only a poor incentive towards the improvement of the working environment for the companies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Once again its perfectly clear the Govt/courts DO NOT GIVE A DAMN about the man/woman/child on the streets!

I just don't get it, labour violations are bloody EVERYWHERE & the little people NEVER prevail or get compensated & companies NEVER get punished, even if the little guy "wins" they really lose because of the pitifully low levels of compensation.

The over protection of companies in some cases are indeed crimes against mankind!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Shame on Japanese judicial system!! The Supreme Court process should be transparent to the public. Furthermore, this is a violation of human rights. This is a dark side of Japan I never like.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It's not about naming companies with only a few incidents. It's about naming companies with large numbers of deaths over many years. That would reveal the worst offenders. Why protect those companie's reputations?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The Supreme Court made the right decision. This group was asking that EVERY employee who died of a heart attack or a stroke should be considered a death from overwork.

That's just ridiculous. Most people have strokes and heart attacks for genetic or lifestyle reasons. I'm not saying that the companies are 100% innocent, just that trying to say that they're 100% guilty of causing EVERY employee's heart attack or stroke is equally ridiculous.

This civic group should stop trying to inflate their figures by blaming every employer and instead require the Labor Ministry to disclose the names of companies guilty of death by overwork.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I tend to disagree with the above sentiments. The issue is not simply the number of hours worked, but whether they were worked voluntarily or under the threat of punishment or retribution by the company.

Hasn't everyone (on a much smaller scale) gotten so into doing something that they've lost track of time, of missed meals, of four of five hours going by in a flash while you were in the groove? I have two freelance artist friends and one engineer friend who have to be told to eat and sleep when they occasionally are in the middle of a project that takes possession of their soul.

So how does one prove that a "karoshi" victim was forced to work an extraordinary number of hours under duress if we simply go by the number of hours on the job? Isn't it conceivable (and has certainly happened) that a marketing guy or a graphics person or a number-cruncher is so into a major upcoming project, so in love with his work, so passionate about his contribution, that he winds up working 80-100 hours a week voluntarily, and dies? And if that were the case, wouldn't it be unfair and harmful to his company to publish its name and publicly label it a slave driver?

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

reporting them does not hurt their reputation, abusing employees does.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Frungy,

The group wanted the Osaka Labor Bureau to name the companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation over employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work, Kyodo news said.

Aren't the 200 deaths mentioned limited to those determined to be Karoshi?

4 per week is 4 too many. Surely, though, significantly more than that die before retirement age?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Calm down. The case is a bit different from what the report implies.

Here is the link to the Osaka High Court judgment. http://www.courts.go.jp/hanrei/pdf/20130909095359.pdf

The civic group sued the government in its capacity as an insurer of Workplace Safety Insurance aka Rosai Hoken, demanding the government disclose the details of the insurance payment. The court ruled that an insurer has fiduciary duty to keep the record secret and, therefore, the data should not be disclosed to a third party or to the public at large. I think the ruling reasonable.

Surviving family has all the rights to disclose what happened and that rights are not affected by this ruling at all. What the court ruled is that third parties do not have rights to peek into the case of someone else.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

One can easily argue even in such a case, a company's duty of care will involve forcing the employee to take a break. Enthusiasm can shield fatigue, but it still accumulates.

Besides, this exception is too freely abused - every company that got sued will claim it, and few would argue differently for fear of soiling the dead's reputation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CH3CHO,

Surviving family has all the rights to disclose what happened

..and might, in a different country, but are hardly encouraged in Japan. Hence the importance of civic groups.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"But the court rejected the demand, backing a decision by the Osaka high court which found identifying the companies could harm their reputation..."

Heaven forbid a company that knowingly breaks the laws and causes someone's DEATH have their name dragged through the mud! If that happened they might not be able to kill any of their other employees and might have to obey the law!

ben4short: "So how does one prove that a "karoshi" victim was forced to work an extraordinary number of hours under duress if we simply go by the number of hours on the job? "

Not surprised you're defending the companies here. 'Karoshi' has been proven in a number of cases. You don't think the companies should be named?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

identifying the companies could harm their reputation

That is exactly the point! The courts are protecting profits over people! Disgusting Japan!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why protect those companie's reputations?

Transparency in justice system is very important in democracy.

It would never happen in the US highest court. Many big legal cases have been brought to justice to set a public record what is right and wrong in society. Everything has to be exposed. That has been messed up in this case. They are going backward. No protection to these companies were necessary.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

SenseNotSoCommonOct. 07, 2013 - 09:48AM JST

CH3CHO,

Surviving family has all the rights to disclose what happened

..and might, in a different country, but are hardly encouraged in Japan. Hence the importance of civic groups

So, you argue that self claimed civic groups have rights to disclose insurance data AGAINST the will of the surviving family.

By the way, in the US, compensation payments usually come with "no disclose clause".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

At least five women in my section of Japanese company (out of twelve) log at least 80 hours a month of overtime every single month. Three of them log up to 120 hours of overtime a month, of which all but the first 35 hours are paid. These women just have no life and won't go home. I don't know why the company lets them do it. They are permanently worn out and almost everything they do is wrong, but they won't go home. Karoshi is death by overwork, not death by hard work. The Japanese work long, but they don't work hard, and they are often not being forced. Try some of the legal firms if you want the worst numbers.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This court decision goes completely against the grain of the court's responsibility to act on behalf of the public good, and to hold companies accountable for their actions.

This sort of hush-hush, anti-whistle-blower mentality needs to change. It is what enabled Chisso Corporation to sweep the Minamata Disease incident under the rug for decades, and is what is now enabling Tepco to to persist with its half-baked solutions to stave of an even worse environmental catastrophe.

Contrast this to the naming and shaming of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London after the death of their 21-year old intern Moritz Erhardt. The deluge of negative publicity in that tragedy is causing the company to make visible changes in its labor practices to mend its damaged reputation.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

80-100 hours a month of overtime is outrageous. While I agree that heart attacks and strokes can't be directly blamed on overtime work, this is not a lifestyle conducive to good physical and mental health. There are still young workers at my place of work who feel under obligation not to use paid leave to make a good impression but thankfully we have come a long way in stamping out wasteful overtime. I'd name companies which see 80-100 hours of overtime and I'd also like to know how many of these hours are paid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@smith

Not surprised you're defending the companies here. 'Karoshi' has been proven in a number of cases. You don't think the companies should be named?

And I'm not surprised that in your zest to condemn you've misread my comments. If karoshi can be proved to be the result of the company's coercive tactics, then yes, of course I think it should be publicly named.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Saxon, I had one colleauge like that. Worked all hours of the day and night. Would "sleep" in the taxi on the way between meetings. No matter where in the world an email came from, this one person was always the first to reply. All the bosses tried to put a stop to it. Cited safely regulations, energy savings. When the company said, No use of electricity between midnight and 5 am, she just worked from home.

We were all waiting for the karoshi, and trying to prevent it.

She made me aware that karoshi is not always the company's fault. There are individuals who will do this to themselves.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

taj, exactly my point. Thank you.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"identifying the companies could harm their reputation" thats the point. That is not like not giving out the name of a rapist or murder because you don't want to harm their precious reputation in the community.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why reject? The Japanese citizens have the right to know. It does not matter if it hurts the company, because they deserve it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

this to the naming and shaming of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London after the death of their 21-year old intern Moritz Erhardt. The deluge of negative publicity in that tragedy is causing the company to make visible changes in its labor practices to mend its damaged reputation

I remember this case. You have said very well. That's my point. Many legal cases in US are actually brought to justice, so that the accused are forced to make VISIBLE CHANGES in society. Walmart is a good example for many labor disputes. They were forced to make many changes, many of us still avoid shopping there and labeling them as "GhettoMart".

This is the most important issue what needs to be emphasized here.

The court does not have to protect companies. The ultimate justice will be decided by the consumer or the public. Apparently, Japanese justice system failed to do so as they do not trust the public. They need to learn.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Government employees especially the politicans never die from work. They are too well paid and have plrenty of time to cook up lies. It is the poor people who have to work long hours to survive; what with the increased cost of living stemming from the devaluation of the yen and the increased sales tax in the works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ben4short: "If karoshi can be proved to be the result of the company's coercive tactics, then yes, of course I think it should be publicly named."

Good. And since it has been proven, the courts are wrong in saying a company should not be named because it might harm their reputation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A strange land this is! If you get caught with a bag of pot you have your name and nationality published in the newspaper, but work someone to death and you remain anonymous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CH3CHOOct. 07, 2013 - 09:37AM JST CH3CHOOct. 07, 2013 - 10:00AM JST

By the way, in the US, compensation payments usually come with "no disclose clause".

I am not even sure if this is a workman's compensation case. JT post is suggesting that. But is it? Please let me know.

If this is a straight liability case, yes, the court has to disclose everything to the public.

If it is a workman's comp case, then it is not necessary for the court to disclose the name of accused and accuser. But still both names will be kept permanently in state workman's comp claim list.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Basically, just a bunch of old dudes in power protecting their likewise powerful buddies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CH3CHO,

So, you argue that self claimed civic groups have rights to disclose insurance data AGAINST the will of the surviving family.

Regardless of how you, or the authorities, may feel about these civic groups, if the victims' identities remain undisclosed, it's hard to argue about damage to the surviving families.

Time to end the conspiracy of silence.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Get RealOct. 07, 2013 - 09:23AM JST Aren't the 200 deaths mentioned limited to those determined to be Karoshi?

It appears not. It appears as if the civil group has made a syllogistic reasoning error, and jumped from:

Heart attacks and strokes can be caused by overwork

Therefore ALL heart attacks and strokes are as a result of overwork

4 per week is 4 too many. Surely, though, significantly more than that die before retirement age?

But as a percentage of the total working population, and taking into account the aging population, it might represent the natural heart attack and stroke rate without any wrongdoing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

These women just have no life and won't go home.

Exactly, WON'T go home, not CAN'T go home. No chains, no bondage, no slave master. There is a mentality here that this is some kind of heroic devotion to the company, just sad in my opinion.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If not guilty dont hide, I say the companies should be brought to light!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Frungy,

The group wanted the Osaka Labor Bureau to name the companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation over employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work, Kyodo news said.

this quite clearly states that the Osaka Labor Bureau has determined that these 200 deaths, be they from strokes, heart attack or other causes, are all related to work.

Karoshi is the canary in the mine for a huge societal mess.

Too much of Japan Inc is trying to left brain itself out of a mire that requires whole brain thinking. This needs variety, stimulus, different experiences and perspectives to get the neurons firing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

globalwatcherOct. 07, 2013 - 11:07AM JST

I am not even sure if this is a workman's compensation case. JT post is suggesting that. But is it? Please let me know.

Yes, it is. Here is a link to the Osaka High Court ruling. http://www.courts.go.jp/hanrei/pdf/20130909095359.pdf

Rosai is Japanese equivalent of workers compensation insurance. Japanese government is the insurer and works through its district labor bureaus. If a worker is killed or injured during work, insurance money is paid to the worker. In case of karoshi, if a worker works more than 210 hours a month during the 6 month before the stroke or more than 260 hours a month during the one month before the stroke that resulted in death, regardless if the stroke happened during work or during off time, the death is deemed to be caused by the overwork and insurance is usually paid to the victim. The cases are usually settled out of court, unless surviving family raises objection.

The civic group was not involved in any specific case. It wanted to see all the insurance claim data at Osaka labor bureau, but the court decided disclosing is against the fiduciary duty of the bureau as an insurer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Black companies these are called now in Japanese ....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I still find this funny, that in a modern society you’re expected to work every day for two or so hours on over time for free!! If this to happen in the UK a lot of Japanese bosses would be committing Hari kari. Simply because we would say if were not being paid you can F*** off I’m going home, it’s about time they tried this method in Japan, remember folks “don’t live for work, work to live”.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Skeeter27,

Black companies these are called now in Japanese ....

Karoshi happens at large, famous firms too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Get RealOct. 07, 2013 - 02:33PM JST this quite clearly states that the Osaka Labor Bureau has determined that these 200 deaths, be they from strokes, heart attack or other causes, are all related to work. Karoshi is the canary in the mine for a huge societal mess.

You're jumping from "related to work" to "karoshii".

To qualify for compensation these individuals would just need to have the heart-attack or stroke AT WORK. Their working environment need not have caused the problem.

This is also the problem that the court had with the group, that the circumstances of death may not have had anything to do with any wrongdoing on the part of the company, but could rather have just been a function or where and/or when the person died.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well what do you expect? The courts (the whole country) is in the pockets of the corporations. Business will always be valued higher than human life here. Everybody knows this. Just look at Smiling Abe and his ideas if a modern society: Business, spending, shopping, tax breaks for corp's is what he believes is the way for the future. Much like how they succeeded last time. Individual happiness and health is valued very badly in Japan, this quasi-democracy...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mea culpa, Frungy,

The 200 deaths annually, referred to in the article, were the official death toll nationwide from Karoshi as recorded by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, not the Osaka total, which we don't have in the article.

As we don't have the numbers of deaths determined by Osaka Labor Bureau as 'related to work' (and not just 'at work'), we can neither extrapolate the data nor conjecture either way. We don't have the name of the civic group either, just this insufficient (abridged?) AFP article.

Contrary to the District Court ruling, the Osaka High Court has in effect found fit to condone the continued sweeping of Karoshi under a bulging carpet, despite local and central government having solid evidence thereof.

For the record, Osaka Labor Bureau 大阪労働局, is part of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare 厚生労働省.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Get RealOct. 07, 2013 - 07:29PM JST Contrary to the District Court ruling, the Osaka High Court has in effect found fit to condone the continued sweeping of Karoshi under a bulging carpet, despite local and central government having solid evidence thereof.

Okay, how do I explain this to you simply since you still don't seem to get it.

This group thought they were asking for:

a civic group demanding the government disclose the names of companies whose employees have died of overwork

But they phrased their request so badly that instead what they asked for was:

to name the companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation over employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work

This list of companies would include companies where people just happened to die AT work, rather than die FROM overwork.

Therefore the High Court entirely legitimately said, "No.", because the group would have misused the data and slandered several innocent companies.

There is NOTHING stopping this group from getting some legal advice and re-filing their application with a clear request for the names of all companies that paid compensation for death from overwork (as determined by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare).

I shouldn't be too harsh I suppose, I mean looking at the comments under this article it seems like, out of more than a score of individuals I'm the only one here who grasped that the court rejected the application because it was asking the wrong question.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

C'mon, let's have their names, number of deaths and dates of death.

If you can take pix of kids making a funny pose for just forgetting your books, lets have hard-ball for the adults and public name and shame. (As it was certainly hard-ball for the guys who died!)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So, if a person commits a crime, their name, age, occupation and company are all named as an overall shame campaign, but if the company is in the wrong they are protected? Why the double standard?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okay, how do I explain this to you simply since you still don't seem to get it.

..But they phrased their request so badly..

This list of companies would include companies where people just happened to die AT work, rather than die FROM overwork.

@Frungy, condescend 'til the cows come home, if that's what floats the boat. The claim is that the civic group misphrased their request, but that Osaka District Court didn't notice it. Osaka High Court did notice, but undeterred, the group pursued the same misphrased claim all the way to Nagatacho. Really?

At the risk of boring everyone to tears, let's look at the language again:

The information request covered causes of death determined to be related to work: strokes, heart attacks and other causes.

The Osaka Labor Bureau is not a union. It's not a pressure group. It's a government body.

There's an ocean of difference between stating that a death was at work and determining that it was work related. Japanese government bodies don't make determinations lightly.

One mightn't be blamed for speculating that in their wooing of 天下り先, the higher courts happily deny the competence of Labor Office determinations, if not for absence of killer overtime proof due to wholesale non-compliance on record keeping, then for lack of incontrovertible medical evidence that otherwise healthy Taro, who hardly knew his own kids, wouldn't have had a stroke anyway.

Finally, Frungy, I enjoy your posts. This isn't about winning an argument. It's about better understanding the truth where this sort of thing happens: http://www.mynewsjapan.com/reports/1437.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The High Court should stop and think. Is the reputation of the company more important than the people that make the company profitable?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would go for a different approach: There are KPI performances in every company, for example the health and safety index, you can get these statistics, and some other like absenteeism/overtime index, etc. If we look at overtime rates in companies, you can get some idea of how stressful are the companies, it does harm the reputation of the company, but I would push this in the sense that in Europe is seen overtime, what i mean, the more overtime you have the less efficient you are, maybe you have to extend deadlines of projects of work but reduce the cost of seen as an abusive employer...

Of course, this is complex, I'm just trying to convey the idea, that meanwhile companies worry about environmental and safety world standards, health in the workplace should be also a world standard, I don't know in Japan, but we have 45 hours a week for work maximum, with an extreme of 12 hours overtime a week (48 hours monthly), to hear that Japanese works 60 to 100 hours overtime means spending 14 hours a day in a regular 9-to 5 schedule, no life, just work work work, competition is fierce, because companies may not oblige you to work but your colleagues do when they try to show you that they are a harder worker than you... pity.

As for the ruling, it depends of the nature of the information to be disclosed, it is a double edged knife, because in the wrong hands it could be used to destroy the reputation of the companies, or create an hostile environment in the workplace and can regress too much the development of the industry, nothing gets done or get poorly done. So that information should go to Labor department and health department.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Get RealOct. 07, 2013 - 11:22PM JST @Frungy, condescend 'til the cows come home, if that's what floats the boat. The claim is that the civic group misphrased their request, but that Osaka District Court didn't notice it. Osaka High Court did notice, but undeterred, the group pursued the same misphrased claim all the way to Nagatacho. Really?

Yes, in essence that's what happened.

At the risk of boring everyone to tears, let's look at the language again: The information request covered causes of death determined to be related to work: strokes, heart attacks and other causes. The Osaka Labor Bureau is not a union. It's not a pressure group. It's a government body. There's an ocean of difference between stating that a death was at work and determining that it was work related. Japanese government bodies don't make determinations lightly.

The Osaka Labor Bureau does not determine whether there was any wrongdoing or overwork or anything like that. That function is performed by the Japanese labor ministry (as stated in the article, "Japan’s labor ministry investigates whether deaths are caused by excessive work"). Therefore any list received from the Osaka Labor Bureau would be a mixed bag. The civic group stated that they intended to use this information as proof that these companies overworked employees, but the Osaka High Court and Supreme Court correctly rules that the information that they requested would not prove this.

One mightn't be blamed for speculating that in their wooing of 天下り先, the higher courts happily deny the competence of Labor Office determinations, if not for absence of killer overtime proof due to wholesale non-compliance on record keeping, then for lack of incontrovertible medical evidence that otherwise healthy Taro, who hardly knew his own kids, wouldn't have had a stroke anyway.

The only determination made by the Osaka Labor Burea is whether the disease is "work related". This is an EXTREMELY broad term and can merely mean, "happened when at work". To take your example above, it doesn't show whether Taro worked ANY overtime in the last year, it doesn't show the results of his last health examinations, it just shows that Taro had the stroke/heart attack while at work.

Finally, Frungy, I enjoy your posts. This isn't about winning an argument. It's about better understanding the truth where this sort of thing happens: http://www.mynewsjapan.com/reports/1437.

Thanks. I'm also interested in the truth. The truth in this case is that lawyers like fine points of detail, and will argue for a month over the meaning of "work related", but in this case they concluded that it included stuff that didn't mean the employer did anything wrong, and as such it was unfair to release the information knowing that the group intended to publish it saying that it showed guilt.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Thanks, Frungy

Yes, in essence that's what happened.

'In essence' has such a ring of subjectivity to it. Do we have incontrovertible evidence?

The Osaka Labor Bureau does not determine whether there was any wrongdoing or overwork or anything like that. That function is performed by the Japanese labor ministry.

Once again, the Labor Bureaux are the local offices of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. And yes, they do determine if there was wrongdoing or overwork, as evidenced below:

"A store manager with hamburger chain McDonald's in Japan who died of a brain haemorrhage was a victim of "karoshi" or death by overwork, a regional labour office said Wednesday." (AFP)

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gwgGnPxcowg7_uyZJCFFGXnT1N6w?hl=en

Thanks. I'm also interested in the truth.

Excellent! Truth lies in fact, not elegantly packaged assumption.

We look forward to compelling evidence supporting the argument that the civic group pursued the same misphrased claim all the way to Nagatacho.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Get RealOct. 08, 2013 - 11:48AM JST 'In essence' has such a ring of subjectivity to it. Do we have incontrovertible evidence?

Its in the article:

Japan’s supreme court has turned down an appeal by a civic group demanding the government disclose the names of companies whose employees have died of overwork, according to a report.

The group wanted the Osaka Labor Bureau to name the companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation over employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work, Kyodo news said. ... But the Osaka High Court overturned that decision, saying that certifying brain and heart diseases for worker compensation “does not necessarily mean the companies were negligent or violated laws but could undermine their reputation in society,” the report said.

The Osaka High Court stated pretty clearly that certifying that a worker had a brain or heart disease doesn't necessarily mean that the company did anything wrong. These conditions are not necessarily caused by overwork, and could be natural, with the only relationship to work being that the person happened to be employed at the time.

Once again, the Labor Bureaux are the local offices of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. And yes, they do determine if there was wrongdoing or overwork, as evidenced below:

"A store manager with hamburger chain McDonald's in Japan who died of a brain haemorrhage was a victim of "karoshi" or death by overwork, a regional labour office said Wednesday." (AFP)

Just because a regional labor office reported it doesn't mean that they made the determination. The article is very clear:

Japan’s labor ministry investigates whether deaths are caused by excessive work

Even if they did make the determination at a regional level that ISN'T what the civic group asked for. They asked for the names of all the companies where anyone had been paid compensation for heart attacks and strokes. They didn't ask for the list of individuals who died from overwork. Two completely different things.

We look forward to compelling evidence supporting the argument that the civic group pursued the same misphrased claim all the way to Nagatacho.

Its right there in the article. Read it carefully.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Just because a regional labor office reported it doesn't mean that they made the determination. The article is very clear

Even if they did make the determination at a regional level..

No comment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This article from the ILO, on karoshi examples, might clarify definitions.

Note the use of "approved as work-related" more than once. Also noteworthy are heart attacks in early 20s and 30s, and the fact that stroke in a 58 year-old was only compensated after 14 years, suggesting Labor Office diligence in determining deaths as related to work.

Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office. Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37. Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death. Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.

http://www.ilo.org/safework/info/publications/WCMS_211571/lang--en/index.htm>

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Get RealOct. 08, 2013 - 03:39PM JST

Just because a regional labor office reported it doesn't mean that they made the determination. The article is very clear Even if they did make the determination at a regional level..

No comment.

You're doing this like you've made some sort of point. You haven't, except that you still don't understand why you're wrong. Where the determination is made is irrelevant.

The problem is that the group is saying: (Companies where workers comp was paid for strokes and heart attacks) = (List of companies where Karoshii occurred)

This just isn't true.

Learn. To. Read.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Frungy,

The civic group asked for data on:

employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work

No amount of spin, denial, or personal attacks alter the specific meaning and limited scope of that data. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization listing is quite explicit about how fatalities must be approved as work-related, validating what we already know about the deliberate, diligent and discriminating nature of the Labor Office determinations.

Karoshi.jp gives further granularity on the nature of those determinations:

The coverage formula for cases of death from overwork, which was established by the Ministry of Labor in 1987, provides that, for award, "it must be objectively recognized that there was a heavier psychological or physical overload or burden than that caused by the employee's usual specified work the week before the fall". An in-house manual illustrating the coverage formula,and which was not available to the public, contains such stiff qualifications that just one day off during the week preceding collapse disqualifies one for compensation, even if one worked twice the regular number of hours on the other six days.

The Supreme Court's ruling that a Labor Office determination (of an employee's death being related to work) “does not necessarily mean the companies were negligent or violated laws but could undermine their reputation in society” relates not to the strict scope of the civic group's claim, but the greater reality that Article 36 of the 1947 Labor Standards Act, as enforced by the Supreme Court (Hitachi vs Tanaka; March 27, 1986), obliges employees to accept any overtime requested of them. Hence no violation of laws.

http://karoshi.jp/english/overwork1.html http://www.jil.go.jp/english/laborinfo/library/documents/llj_law1-rev.pdf http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=QiM5ThWW49IC&pg=PT99&lpg=PT99&dq=tanaka+vs+hitachi+tokyo+high+court+overtime&source=bl&ots=4T5R8HsDNq&sig=v3vxKhk3NCFKuY3qgTsPcFQ3KEw&hl=ja&sa=X&ei=j99TUv2ZHsmbkAX8hYCgCg&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=tanaka%20vs%20hitachi%20tokyo%20high%20court%20overtime&f=false

In short the Act, and the higher courts which enforce it, abandon Japan's workers, their widows and their orphans, while effectively letting corporations off with murder.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Get RealOct. 08, 2013 - 10:33PM JST The civic group asked for data on: employee deaths stemming from strokes, heart attacks and other causes determined to be related to work

No amount of spin, denial, or personal attacks alter the specific meaning and limited scope of that data. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization listing is quite explicit about how fatalities must be approved as work-related, validating what we already know about the deliberate, diligent and discriminating nature of the Labor Office determinations.

The work-related fatalities are NOT necessarily Karoshi.

The coverage formula for cases of death from overwork, which was established by the Ministry of Labor in 1987, provides that, for award, "it must be objectively recognized that there was a heavier psychological or physical overload or burden than that caused by the employee's usual specified work the week before the fall". An in-house manual illustrating the coverage formula,and which was not available to the public, contains such stiff qualifications that just one day off during the week preceding collapse disqualifies one for compensation, even if one worked twice the regular number of hours on the other six days.

This is the formula for Karoshi. This is NOT the formula for work-related compensation. This is not what they asked for.

The Supreme Court's ruling that a Labor Office determination (of an employee's death being related to work) “does not necessarily mean the companies were negligent or violated laws but could undermine their reputation in society” relates not to the strict scope of the civic group's claim, but the greater reality that Article 36 of the 1947 Labor Standards Act, as enforced by the Supreme Court (Hitachi vs Tanaka; March 27, 1986), obliges employees to accept any overtime requested of them. Hence no violation of laws.

Interesting, but irrelevant. The group didn't ask for the names of companies where people had died after working overtime, they just asked for all the companies where people had died from strokes and heart-attacks.

The mistake you're making is called a syllogistic logic error. It is very common. Here's an example.

All fish swim. You can swim. Therefore you are a fish.

You can see the error there, right? You're a human being, not a fish (I hope). Okay, now bear with me here as we apply this to the Karoshii case.

All Karoshii victims worked for companies. Karoshii victims received compensation. Therefore all compensated individuals died from Karoshii.

The error is in the final line. The civic group asked for the names of all the companies where people were compensated for heart-attacks and strokes. They wrongly assumed that ALL of these people died from Karoshii, and so ALL of these companies were guilty. That's where they made the logic in error.

People can be compensated for MANY reasons, for example if you die in a car accident on the way to work technically you're on company time in terms of Japanese law, but it doesn't mean you worked any overtime. Likewise people can die from strokes and heart-attacks for work-related reasons that have nothing to do with Karoshii, like being so angry with one of your co-workers that you blow a blood-vessel in your brain, or trying to be macho in front of the cute office ladies and hauling 5 reams of photocopy paper up two floors... only to collapse and have a heart-attack.

In short the Act, and the higher courts which enforce it, abandon Japan's workers, their widows and their orphans, while effectively letting corporations off with murder.

I'm not debating the Act. What I am discussing is the legitimacy of this specific request. This civic group simply made a logic error and as such asked for the wrong information, and intended to misuse it to slander companies, and would have got themselves sued. They should be thanking the High Court for not giving them the information, because if they had got it they would be in deep, deep trouble.

The specific request made was wrong. Go back and file it again, but this time ask for the right information.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

It's called Japan Inc.

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