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2018 February 28 - March 6 [LABOR]

Real estate worker committed suicide due to overwork under discretionary work system

March 6, 2018
It was revealed on March 5 that a local labor office in Tokyo had recognized the suicide of a real estate worker in his 50s, who had worked overtime of more than 180 hours a month under the discretionary labor system, as work-related.

The worker who committed suicide at Nomura Real Estate Development's head office in Tokyo was forced to work overtime far exceeding the 100 hours designated as the government-set danger line for death from overwork. He developed emotional distress resulting from long working hours in December 2015 and ended up killing himself in September 2016.

The real estate company applied the discretionary system to about 600 of its 1,900 employees including salespersons who are not supposed to fall under this system by law.

The Tokyo Labor Bureau late last year issued a directive to the Tokyo-based real estate developer to correct the situation and even provided special guidance to President Miyajima Seiichi.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Takahashi Chizuko in a recent Diet committee meeting condemned the illegal labor practice at Nomura Real Estate with its use of the discretionary labor system as a cover for forced overtime without pay. JCP House of Councilors Yamashita Yoshiki, following the revelation of the worker's overwork-induced suicide, demanded that the Abe government give up its intent to expand the use of the so-called "discretionary" work system as it could lead to an increase in employers' illegal labor practices.

Past related articles:
> JCP Takahashi criticizes Abe gov’t for falsifying data in order to expand system increasing unpaid overtime [February 21, 2018]
> Abe admits discretionary work system won't contribute to reducing working hours [February 15, 2018]
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