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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > Death of sushi restaurant manager recognized as work-related
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2020 June 10 - 16 [LABOR]

Death of sushi restaurant manager recognized as work-related

June 12, 2020

The death of a conveyor belt sushi restaurant manager has been recognized by a Tokyo labor standards inspection office as caused by overwork, his bereaved family revealed at a press conference on June 10.

The deceased worker in 2014 entered the Sakai Sogyo company which operates “Ganso Zushi” conveyor belt sushi chain in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Since July 2016, he worked six days a week as the manager of two sushi restaurants, preparing food, supervising staff, and serving customers. He usually got home from work late at night. In the morning of May 7, 2019, he was found dead on the bed by his wife. He was 41 years old.

In response to a claim for workers’ compensation from the bereaved family, the Mitaka labor standards inspection office acknowledged that in the six months before his death, the worker worked 84 hours and 37 minutes of overtime a month on average, exceeding the government-set danger line for death from overwork which is 80 hours of overtime a month. The labor law enforcement authority also acknowledged that the total hours he spent at work reached around 300 hours a month. The bereaved family claimed that the deceased man monthly worked 97-130 hours of overtime.

The man’s wife issued a comment stating, “My husband always looked exhausted when coming back from work. Workers are not something that can be thrown away like a worn-out shoe. I hope the issue of excessively long working hours will be addressed so that no more workers will suffer an overwork-induced death and their families will not have to suffer from the agonies of seeing their loved ones die slowly from being worked to death.”

The family’s lawyer, Kawahito Hiroshi, pointed out, “In the food service industry, it is often the case that restaurant managers work excessively long working hours. As many restaurants are reopening after suspension from the coronavirus outbreak, there is a risk that managers will be forced to work excessively long hours again.”

Past related articles:
> Union stands up against unfair dismissals by Udon-noodle chain under pretext of corona crisis [May 29, 2020]
> Court acknowledges steak restaurant manager’s suicide as work-related [November 5, 2014]
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