Lawyers in Osaka call for administrative steps for preventing professional drivers' deaths from overwork

An Osaka citizens' organization working on the "karoshi" (death from overwork) problem requested the Osaka Labor Bureau on May 10 to ensure that all taxi and truck drivers are protected under the government-designated labor standards so that they won't die from overwork.

The labor standards established by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare prohibits taxi and trucking companies from forcing their drivers to work more than 21 hours in two days in a row and more than 16 hours a day, respectively. But under the current economic recession many drivers are forced to work longer hours.

The Liaison Council on Karoshi called on the Labor Bureau to urge all companies concerned to comply with the standards, to visit their offices to check whether the standards are met, and to send a report to the prosecutor's office on companies which violates the standards knowingly.

In Osaka last November, the family of a taxi driver who died after having a heavy workload filed a criminal suit against the company he was working for. Taking this into consideration, the liaison council for the first time in Japan requested the Labor Bureau to take preventive measures. (end)