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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 22 - 28  > High court recognizes Toyota subcontractor worker’s death as work-related
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2017 February 22 - 28 [LABOR]

High court recognizes Toyota subcontractor worker’s death as work-related

February 25, 2017
The Nagoya High Court on February 23 overturned a lower court decision and issued a ruling recognizing that a Toyota subcontractor worker died due to overwork.

The plaintiff is Miwa Kaori, the wife of Miwa Toshihiro who worked at Toyota’s second tier contractor TSC Inc., and who died at the age of 37 from an ischemic heart disease in September 2011.

Miwa’s wife in 2012 filed with a local labor standards inspection office a request to have her husband’s death recognized as work-related. However, the labor law enforcement office rejected her request on the grounds that the number of overtime hours Miwa worked the month before his death was 85 hours, 15 hours below the standard for official recognition of work-related deaths. Kaori decided to challenge this decision in court.

The high court ruling stated that considering the situation where Miwa was unable to even take brief breaks and worked extra hours after punching out on the time card, the 85 hours of overtime should be regarded as an extremely heavy workload. The ruling also pointed out that such a hard work schedule caused Miwa’s depression.

At a press conference after the ruling, plaintiff’s lawyer Mizuno Mikio said that it is significant that the high court accepted Miwa’s death as overwork-induced although the number of overtime hours he worked in the month before his death was less than 100 hours, the government-set criterion for death from overwork.

The Abe government intends to revise the existing work hour regulations so that employers can legally force workers to work 100 hours of overtime a month.

Past related article:
> Gov’t seeks to set overtime at 720 hours a year, two times longer than current limit [February 16, 2017]
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