Japanese Suicide Now Caled Work Related

October 9, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The 1998 suicide of a 52-year-old Japanese construction manager is now being recognized as stemming from overwork and is now classified as an on-the-job death, lawyers for the man's family said.

According to a report in Kyodo News International, the man simultaneously headed three construction sites for an Osaka-based contractor from May 1997 until his death. One of the projects was a road construction site in Furukawa, Miyagi Prefecture, which is where the reclassification as a work-related death took place, according to reports.

The lawyers said that because of a labor shortage, the man reported to work at 7 a.m, stayed up as late as midnight, and worked during his rest days.

Faced with problems which isolated him from his colleagues and subordinates, his health was affected in December 1997 and he fell into depression. In January 1998, he killed himself in a park near the site in Furukawa in the northeastern Japan prefecture by gassing himself, the news reports said.

It is rare for a suicide induced by overwork and committed by someone in a managerial post to be recognized as an industrial accident, the lawyers said.

The man’s employer, Konoike Construction, agreed to pay the family 30 million yen to settle their court suit that had demanded 100 million yen, according to the news report.

The company also helped in applying to the Labor Standards Inspection Office in Furukawa for recognition of the workmen’s compensation insurance, which entitles the family to his pension, among other benefits, news reports said.