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Olympic stadium worker's suicide was 'death by overwork,' say parents

33 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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There is no visible progress on the construction site since 6 month. ?!?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

That is sad. Remember it is only a job.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Campaign to name a stand after this dude is needed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't understand why he didn't just quit. It's not as though he can't find a similar job elsewhere.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

sub-contractors

This is the problem in Japan, I've seen projects seven layers deep into sub-contractors, everyone is taking off the top and the end guy is getting paid peanuts and working the job of 3-4 people so that the companies above him can get their cut.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

many times i say, split the olympics between tokyo and osaka. no need to build anything, just promotion, tourism etc.

rip hard worker. reminds me of my experiences in dubai.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

200hrs a month, that's an EXTRA 8hrs a day 6 days a week! But Not Illegal as the Government made construction excempt from the new 100hr limit. Never enforced anyway. Quitting is not so easy. Group pressure has power in the workplace. Too young for such desperate measures.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

"We have in the past called on the Taisei-led joint venture and its sub-contractors to scrupulously obey relevant laws, and will renew our calls," the council said in a statement.

How about you actually try and ENFORCE THE LAWS THAT ARE IN PLACE instead of aimlessly calling on, encouraging or kindly asking them to obey??? Bunch of fools. The companies, stakeholders, as well as the government are all at fault.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Poor lad; what deep depression or upset drove him to this decision? Awful.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Is it even possible to do 200 hours overtime in a month? That's over 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I'd guess he was getting one day off a week, which makes each working day over 16 hours. I'm not being inconsiderate of his suicide, but working those kinds of hours would have killed him anyway.

This is the result of the procrastinating and inappropriate deadlines set by the Japanese government and Olympic committee. I'll be very surprised if this is the last suicide from overwork from those working on the stadium. .

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I do not get why people work for these crap companies. Not all companies in Japan are like that. I for example start work at 8AM and get off at 5PM with 1 hour lunch break and like 20 minute X 4 smoke breaks. Has a nice lounge and a relaxation room. When companies mistreat their workers, people leave and go elsewhere. Therefore, bad companies lose their source of labor and it becomes harder for their workers and more people quit.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What a savage cluster .....

Corruption and cover ups put the construction of a new stadium which all existence was doubtful at best into a crazy mess because of totally uncontrolled rising costs. Then all the thing gets cancelled, the old boys put in panic a new plan to save face, but can't make for the time lost. So the silent lower class, the disposable people got slaved into work in the sole purpose is to save the interests of a disgusting oligarchy.

I have been living in Japan for fifteen years but really sometimes I wonder what the hell is going on in this country.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I wonder how he was being financially compensated. In my younger years, while doing such labor, we'd get paid double time or time and a half for "overtime," and were thus often eager to sock in the hours.

Corporate Japan is once again reporting all time record high profits. So they can surely pay. If they aren't compensating their workers in line with earnings, then the govt needs to step in and nail them with arrests of senior execs over labor violations , higher taxes, etc.

Harsh punishments are the only things greedy corporations respond to. Abe's cajoling has proved itself futile.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I hope his name will be well-seen on the entrance wall after the construction is finished. Everyone has a right to know who were the people who gave lives for their entertainment. I want every one of them, the contractor, the managing staff, the athletes and the viewers to decide, whether this (yet to be) spectacular stadium complex was worth a single life of a person 99,9% of them never knew, and will never get to know.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

But, working your employees to death is Japanese business culture. The Japanese government just set a limit of 100 hours per month on overtime, which is still absolutely absurd! Is there any wonder Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world? Is there any wonder child abuse and domestic violence are also among the highest in the world. Japanese people don't need to worry about work/life balance because they have no life, only work!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Working those kind of crazy hours would drive anyone bananas.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Overtime is a crime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thats a typical life for so many young Japanese. They are indoctrinated from birth to give their lives to whatever company they join. Changing jobs, even if it's for better wages or conditions, is seen as a personal failure by the industries.

Many don't feel there is any other way out.

Really when you look at it, there is not much difference between the horrors a foreign worker faces in Qatar, and the horrors a Japanese will face at the hands of his own countrymen right here in Japan.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Its not death by overwork, the job is just starting and he already killed himself. He gets paid by the hour. Just remember that depression is a mental sickness.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

clamenza

Thats a typical life for so many young Japanese.

I'm guessing you don't actually know any builders or constructions workers? For many its a well paid job for those who are trades people, electricians, carpenters. Working hard on construction sites. I've worked in several different countries, doing just that, is always hard work, weather problems, schedules late. We always worked hard and played hard too. But companies do need to take care of their workers by not pushing them into over work.

BTW the construction industry in Japan is well regulated and can't be compared to foreign workers, mostly Indians in Qatar.

Many of our young students enter the industry,

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't understand why he didn't just quit. It's not as though he can't find a similar job elsewhere.

Don't take this personally, but you don't understand Japan and the Japanese people if you have to ask this question or make this comment.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

BTW the construction industry in Japan is well regulated and can't be compared to foreign workers, mostly Indians in Qatar

Zichi,

Sorry with all due respect, you have this one rather wrong, construction has been one of the worst offenders for many many decades & counting.

So we now have the first death related to 2020, or is it...there could be more & there WILL most certainly be more & then when the 2020 arrives I worry about the staff, punters & athletes etc, it IS going to be dangerous & people WILL be abused

For BLOODY once in a while cant Japan enforce its GOD DAMNED LABOUR LAWS!! For all intense & purposes there are NO labour laws on these isles!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It reminds me... Shizumanu Taiyou. A tragedy on tragedy. They did not learn that time, did not they...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

GW

Sorry with all due respect, you have this one rather wrong, construction has been one of the worst offenders for many many decades & counting.

no I don't think I do and speak from personal experience. I come from a family of builders and started at a very early age alongside by father. I'ved worked construction in America, UK , Holland, France, Italy and elsewhere. I have also worked in the heavy chemical industry and witnessed more deaths there, horrific deaths than the construction industry.

I have stated many times on JT that's it's also one of the most dangerous with a too high death rate, alongside of that of farming.

In Japan the industry is well regulated. The pay n be high, I know well skilled electricians and carpenters earning ¥50-¥100,000 per day. That attracts people who may be unable to go to university.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The number of deaths in all industries decreased from 2,419 in 1989 to 1,195 in 2010.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

He means, "zichi", that you do not understand that insane two thousand year old philosophy of "justifying dying because of the primary needs of society, family, zaib... company, yakuza" whatever you can come up with where you could shove "honour and responsibility". I guess they are fine telling a widow or two about how their husband died from overwork, weekly. Human life against responsibility towards the society... Such savagery costed a man his life because he thought saying "no, I am tired" was shameful!? There is nothing to understand. There is only something to be very sad about.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

declining to give details because of privacy concerns.

Who's privacy?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I've worked up to 170 hours of overtime here in Japan, was cheated out of 100 hours of it, Had jobs where you were paid 500 yen for over time after an hour, not per hour, but only 500 yen, even it it was for 6 hours. Things have gotten better than they used to be, but still a lot of work is needed.

Some say, why not quit? Well, if it were only so easy. They can fine you and take it out of your pay if you quit without notice, make your life miserable while you are still there if you give them notice, Most people are supporting a family, and that is what keeps them going. No one wants to work 200 hours overtime, but they also do not want to be unemployed!

I worked for a company that ran dirt barges for the work at Minato Mirai back in the 80's, one supervisor hung himself. He never got to go home and see his family, always was to blame for everything, even for the weather. He got to the point that he felt worthless and knew his wife could make it on the percentage of his life insurance she would receive, so he took the only path he saw fit, we all felt really bad that we did not realize that it was that bad for him, after that a lot of other men quit, so did I!

At least now your family can apply for workers compensation, not that it is in anyway equal to a life, it is a start, showing that there is a problem, and consequences. They really need to start fining these companies big money to make them stop, but I guess most big companies have too many friends in high places! I also don't like how they blame it on the subcontractor, they knew how many hours this man was working, they get the bill each month.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'm not sure that "worker's accident compensation" is applicable here...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yuk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

employed by a subcontractor that bore responsibility for work conditions, including hours worked, but which he declined to identify.

Not surprised at all.

And now what?

Well, the subcontractor will just hire another guy for about 950¥/hour promising a salary over 300.000/month.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's no surprise with all the endless staff meetings and other dilly dallying that overtime is necessary in order to fulfill even the most basic of projects, not to mention more advanced, heavy workloads. However, as this will never change - woven into the fabric of Japanese DNA - there are two distinct options available to all employees regardless of sector/industry, job type, position/rank, etc:

1) speak up as to when you are or are not willing to work over time

2) quit

Nobody is holding a gun to your head to do the over time, stay at the company, or take your own life.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The pay n be high, I know well skilled electricians and carpenters earning ¥50-¥100,000 per day. That attracts people who may be unable to go to university.

I think your numbers are way off. I work at a construction company and we hire all kinds of workers, including electricians and carpenters. They get paid 20,000 a day. Your numbers are far from the norm.

Also, they typically work 6 days a week but no more than 8 hours in a day. They often go home before 3pm (and still get full pay). No one bats an eye if the workers go home early.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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