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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 January 13 - 19  > Doctors union calls for improvement in working conditions of 'unpaid doctors'
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2021 January 13 - 19 [LABOR]

Doctors union calls for improvement in working conditions of 'unpaid doctors'

January 16, 2021
A national physicians' union and the Labor Lawyers Association of Japan on January 15 demanded that "unpaid doctors" be recognized as "workers" and that their working conditions be improved.

Representatives of the doctors and the labor lawyers held a press conference in the Health and Labor Ministry office building and pointed out that the issue of "unpaid doctors" is not included in the planned agenda over "workstyle reform" in Diet deliberations which begin the next day, and criticized the ministry for not intending to discuss the issue.

Dr. Ueyama Naoto on behalf of the union said, "In many university hospitals, graduate students perform medical examinations as 'doctors without pay'. They are forced to work long hours but have been left without decent treatment as workers." Ueyama continued to say that even deaths from overwork (karoshi) have been recorded. He said that the union asked labor standards authorities for guidance but the authorities have been leaving the problem unresolved for two and a half years by insisting that they are not workers.

The physicians and the labor lawyers reported on a survey conducted at a university hospital which shows that 27 out of 34 graduate students or interns work without pay or work at very low pay. Nine of them conduct coronavirus examinations, and some ended up being infected with COVID-19.
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