Ja­pan vows no more deaths from ‘karoshi’

New Straits Times - - World -

KIM HO-JIN, CEO of anti-re­venge porn com­pany Santa Cruise TOKYO: A sports of­fi­cial promised yes­ter­day to work with the builder of a show­piece sta­dium for the 2020 Olympics to stamp out “death by over­work”, a des­ig­na­tion au­thor­i­ties ap­plied last week to the sui­cide of a sta­dium worker.

The par­ents of the 23-year-old pe­ti­tioned the gov­ern­ment this year to recog­nise his sui­cide as karoshi — or “death by over­work”, with me­dia say­ing he had worked 200 hours of over­time a month be­fore his death.

“To our re­gret, il­le­gal over­time was recog­nised as a re­sult of in­spec­tion by the Labour Min­istry,” said Tadashi Mochizuki, di­rec­tor of sta­dium man­ager the Ja­pan Sport Coun­cil (JSC), which was part of a joint ven­ture with con­struc­tion firm Tai­sei Corp.

“We, JSC and Tai­sei, took it sin­cerely and we’ll do the ut­most (to com­ply with the law) in pro­ceed­ing with con­struc­tion.”

Au­thor­i­ties un­veiled a model of the new sta­dium here, which is set to be com­pleted in Novem­ber 2019, af­ter con­struc­tion be­gun in De­cem­ber last year.

Ja­pan’s fast-age­ing so­ci­ety has left em­ploy­ers grap­pling with an acute labour short­age. It recog­nises two types of karoshi: car­dio­vas­cu­lar ill­ness linked to over­work, and sui­cide fol­low­ing men­tal stress re­lated to work.

Em­ploy­ers face few curbs on over­time and pay, so more than a fifth of com­pany staff ex­ceeded a gov­ern­ment over­time thresh­old of 80 hours a month, a white pa­per showed last year.

To tackle the prob­lem, the gov­ern­ment plans sweep­ing re­forms, in­clud­ing over­time caps and bet­ter pay for work­ers. Reuters

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