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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 16 - 22  > Suicide of an anime worker recognized as work-related
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2014 April 16 - 22 [LABOR]

Suicide of an anime worker recognized as work-related

April 20, 2014
A labor supervision authority in Tokyo has acknowledged the suicide of a 28-year-old animation worker as work-related caused by excessively long working hours and heavy workloads.

His family’s lawyer on April 18 announced that the bereaved will receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The worker worked for a Sony-affiliated animation company, A-1 Pictures Inc., as a regular production assistant between 2006 and December 2009. He engaged in working on such popular animations as “Big Windup! (Ookiku Furikabutte)” and “Kannagi - Crazy Shrine Maidens”. The office he worked at, however, neglected managing workers’ work hours based on timecards and forced the staff to work overtime without pay. The worker on his Internet journal wrote, “I took only three days off in ten months,” and “It’s already 4 a.m., but I can’t still get out of work.” Long working hours plus excessive workloads caused him to develop depression. He left the job and in December 2010 committed suicide in his apartment.

After his death, the Labor Standards Inspection Office found a time-in and time-out record he himself had voluntarily kept, and confirmed that he had worked overtime at least 100 hours/month during several months just before he began suffering from depression.

The apartment landlord is claiming damages resulting from his suicide from his family. The authority’s recognition of the work-related death will open the way for holding the company responsible for this as well.

The lawyer said, “Harsh working conditions surrounding animation workers have been a big problem for a while now. The government encourages animation businesses to present an image of a “Cool Japan”. It’s unforgivable to export the products of sweatshops. What’s indispensable to the anime industry is a decent working environment.”
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