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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 9 - 15  > Widow of Toyota worker who died from overwork urges Labor Minister to take steps to eradicate karoshi
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2008 January 9 - 15 [LABOR]

Widow of Toyota worker who died from overwork urges Labor Minister to take steps to eradicate karoshi

January 10, 2008
Uchino Hiroko, whose husband died from overwork at a Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Aichi Prefecture, visited Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yoichi on January 9 and asked him to take effective measures to eliminate death from overwork known as “karoshi.”

On November 30, 2007, the Nagoya District Court overturned the Toyota Labor Standards office decision and ruled that Uchino Ken’ichi died of overwork. The labor standards office had refused to pay work-related compensation on the grounds that his participation in the Quality Control (QC) circle at Toyota could not be counted as overtime work. The Labor Ministry accepted the district court decision.

The widow asked the minister to take stronger steps to eradicate forced overtime work without pay, a cause of karoshi.

Masuzoe stated, “We have the responsibility to protect workers’ rights. We will continue to work to improve working conditions.”

Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Koike Akira, JCP House of Representatives member Sasaki Kensho, and former member of the House of Councilors Hatta Hiroko attended the meeting.

Koike requested the labor minister to strengthen the guidelines for companies to eradicate karoshi. He said that the world is watching the Japanese government’s response to karoshi after the incident at the global automaker.

Masuzoe said, “Corporations have a social responsibility to fulfill.”
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