4 thoughts on “Thousands of Japanese workers killed by overwork

  1. There is no excuse for war crimes!

    Fellow Worker Lee,

    I wanted to start off by saying that I am a regular reader of your column in the Industrial Worker and a frequent visitor to LabourStart. I am dismayed that you are defending the indefensible actions of the Israeli military, rather than aknowledging the human rights catastrophe of F-16s dropping tons of explosives onto the most densely populated place on earth. Gaza is a ghetto in the classical sense, home to some 800,000 children. What Israel is doing is collective punishment, which is a war crime.

    This most recent pre-election massacre isn’t about Hamas or quassam attacks. It is about winning an election and reinflating the shamed ego of the Israeli military which was defeated in Lebanon in 2006.

    The occupation of Gaza never ended – Gazans have been suffering under a brutal, almost total shut off of water, fuel, food, and medicine since Sharon’s “disengagement.” FW Lee’s clumsy attempts to tear down leftist straw men, as well as his strained historical comparisons fall on their face. Gazans are not Nazis or Germans. Israelis aren’t the British being bombed in WW2.

    I am curious, why do you feel the need to defend Israel’s blatent violations of international law? What is next, an editorial condemning Israeli draft resistors?

    As an American Jew, as a former Zionist, and as an industrial unionist, I have been silent for too long. I can’t be silent in the face of this latest conflict, which is not a war, but is a massacre.

    I urge all unionists to educate themselves about the situation and to have the moral courage to stand against the war crimes being perpetrated by Israel.

    Posted by: Clayton Levine | January 3, 2009 08:03 PM



  2. McDonald’s worker dies of ‘overwork’: officials

    (AFP) – 13 hours ago

    TOKYO — A store manager with hamburger chain McDonald’s in Japan who died of a brain haemorrhage was a victim of “karoshi” or death by overwork, a regional labour office said Wednesday.

    The woman, employed at an outlet in Yokohama near Tokyo and reportedly aged 41, had done more than 80 hours of overtime per month before she collapsed in October 2007 during a training programme at a different store.

    She died in hospital three days later, said an official at the Kanagawa Labour Bureau, which oversees the Yokohama region.

    “We determined her work caused the illness,” said the official in charge of work-related compensation, a decision that makes her dependent family members eligible to receive a public pension.

    “She had early symptoms such as headaches some three weeks before she collapsed, and we presume she already had the illness at that point.”

    McDonald’s Co. (Japan) Ltd. declined to comment on the case, with a spokesman saying only that the company had not been contacted by authorities and had not confirmed the decision by itself.

    The woman had performed more than 80 hours of overtime a month on average for the six months before she suffered early symptoms, although she had a vacation shortly before she collapsed in October, the official said.

    Japan’s welfare and labour ministry investigates whether deaths are caused by excessive work if the victim had performed monthly overtime of 80 hours or more for the preceding six months, or 100 hours for the previous one month.

    The number of deaths, usually through strokes or heart attacks, in Japan that are classified as “karoshi” has been hovering at around 150 annually in recent years, according to ministry data.

    McDonald’s suffered a blow to its image when a Tokyo court last year ordered it to pay compensation of more than 70,000 dollars to an employee who had performed unpaid overtime for several years.

    The plaintiff, who had carried the job title of store manager, had earlier said he sometimes worked more than 100 hours of unpaid overtime in a month.

    Japan’s labour laws do not oblige companies to pay overtime to workers in managerial posts. McDonald’s argued their store chiefs have a say in management decisions, but the court rejected that argument.

    Copyright © 2009 AFP


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