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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 2 - 8  > JCP Takahashi calls for ensuring 11-hour rest period for drivers
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2022 March 2 - 8 [LABOR]

JCP Takahashi calls for ensuring 11-hour rest period for drivers

March 8, 2022
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Takahashi Chizuko on March 2 at a House transport committee meeting demanded that in order to protect truck, bus, and taxi drivers from karoshi (death from overwork), at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest be guaranteed between shifts.

The JCP lawmaker made this remark in regard to a revision of the drivers’ working hour rules which is now under discussion at the Labor Policy Council of the Labor Ministry.

The council, which has a tripartite structure consisting of experts and representatives of labor and management, initially planned to revise drivers’ interval of rest between work shifts to "eleven consecutive hours" from the current "no less than eight consecutive hours". However, facing strong objections from the management side, the council changed its proposal to one stating that the rest hours should not be less than nine hours. The amended proposal will oblige employers only to "make the best efforts" to adopt eleven consecutive hours of rest.

“Even if the rest period is expanded to nine hours, nothing will change. Given that I need time to commute, eat, and groom, I only have five hours to sleep,” said a local bus driver in his 40s working at Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu Co., Ltd., one of the major bus companies in Kanagawa Prefecture.

An experienced Yokohama City bus driver said, “When a bus falls behind schedule due to traffic jams and other factors, it causes me much stress having to endure fierce complaints from passengers. The proposed nine-hour rest period is insufficient to recover from work stress. I believe the rest period should be expanded to eleven hours.”

According to JCP Takahashi, drivers stand out among workers in the numbers of deaths from overwork. In the workers’ compensation data released by the Labor Ministry in 2020, professional drivers were at the top in terms of the number of claims for work-related death compensation and the number of those claims approved.

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