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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 July 18 - 24  > Female teacher’s suicide caused by work situation: Tokyo High Court
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2012 July 18 - 24 [LABOR]

Female teacher’s suicide caused by work situation: Tokyo High Court

July 20, 2012
The Tokyo High Court on July 19 gave a judgment recognizing a public school teacher’s death as work-related.

Kimura Yuriko started teaching in 2004 at a municipal elementary school in Shizuoka’s Iwata City. Soon she began to be troubled by children with behavior problems. The school management took only a few measures to support her, though she repeatedly consulted with them about the problems. Half a year later, she killed herself at the age of 24.

The parents of Yuriko demanded workers’ compensation for their daughter’s death. The Shizuoka branch of the Fund for Local Government Employee’s Accident Compensation decided that there was no causal relationship between her death and her work.

In July 2008, the parents brought the case into the Shizuoka District Court to demand the cancelation of the fund’s decision. About 3 years later, the district court reversed the fund’s judgment and decided that an excessively heavy work burden and the school management’s negligence drove the teacher to commit suicide. The Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal from the defendant, upholding the lower court’s decision.

The high court’s decision stated that the situation faced by the teacher was too stressful for a young newcomer to deal with. It also criticized the management for failing to ease her mental burden by providing sufficient support for her.

Following the decision, Kimura Kenji, Yuriko’s father, said, “I hope very much that my daughter’s death will help improve the harsh work situation facing many school teachers.”
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