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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 28 - December 4  > Court rules Toyota worker died from overwork
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2007 November 28 - December 4 TOP3 [LABOR]

Court rules Toyota worker died from overwork

December 1, 2007
The worker’s wife who filed the lawsuit, said, “The court acknowledged that my husband died because of his activities serving the interest of the company.”

The Nagoya District Court on November 30 ruled that the death of Uchino Ken’ichi, a 30-year-old worker who collapsed in 2002 while working at a Toyota Motor Corporation plant in Toyota City (Aichi Pref.), was caused by overwork.

The court recognized that the worker worked overtime for more than 106 hours in the month immediately before his death, rescinding a local labor standards office decision to deny work-related death.

The Toyota Labor Standards Office head asserted that the total number of hours the worker was in the workplace cannot be counted as overtime. The court, however, recognized that his work without compensation, including the so-called Quality Control (QC) Circle activities, was placed under the control of the employer. The court also acknowledged the labor-intensiveness of his work as well as his accumulated fatigue due to night shifts.

Uchino Hiroko, Ken’ichi’s wife who filed the lawsuit, said, “The court acknowledged that my husband died because of his activities serving the interest of the company. I hope Toyota will become a company that receives world recognition for something other than its profit-making ability.”

Commenting on the court ruling, her legal team said, “This is a wonderful judgment that took into account both working hours and quality of labor as the plaintiff has argued. The government should accept the ruling.”
- Akahata, December 1, 2007
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