Thousands of Japanese workers killed by overwork

This video is called Japanese workers at US bases on strike-Report-EN-FRANCE24.

From the LabourStart website:

Dying from overwork in ‘the Land of Karoshi

The article that won the first International Labour Organization Journalistic Prize

Can overwork kill you by driving you to suicide? It can in the land of Karoshi. By the word “Karoshi”, the Japanese mean “death from overwork, a serious and profound issue in a country where more than 5,000 suicides per year are the result of depression caused by overwork.

Japan has the highest proportion of employees working more than 50 hours per week. However, after too many victims of Karoshi, Japanese workers are starting to claim their rights and families are starting to claim compensation.

The Japanese journalist Misako Hida investigated the issue of Karoshi from the perspective of international labour standards concerning hours and conditions of work. “When it comes to working hours in Japan, nothing in the way of international labour standards exists, and in recent years an increasing number of temporary workers have been forced to work as long as full-time employees do”, writes Hida.

The National Labor Committee (NLC), a New York-based human rights group, has been investigating working conditions at Toyota Motor Corp., and the labor used to produce its best-selling Prius hybrid cars: here.

Similar situations exist in other countries, like in France.

For this item, I linked to the LabourStart website. I have no problem with the professed aim of that site, bringing news on trade unionism worldwide; which LabourStart does mainly by linking to articles in mainly corporate media on trade unions. LabourStart, by the way, is not officially part of any trade union organization.

However, there is a problem with the founder of this site, Eric Lee. He is both a United States and Israeli national. That does not need to be a problem at all, since many people in both countries disagree with their governments’ policies. However, Mr Lee has a record of advocating on LabourStart wars waged by both governments. While trade unions should never support wars, which hurt working people most.

In this way, Mr Lee supported the 1999 war against Yugoslavia. Later, as George W. Bush started the war against Iraq, Eric Lee advocated that the Left should support that war, from fear of becoming isolated by not jumping on the bandwagon of that presumably successful war.

Well, we know that the war and the occupation turned out to be only “successful” in killing and torturing even more Iraqis than under Saddam Hussein, oppressing Iraqi trade unions, ruining the world economy, making many people hungry, etc.

Quite some people who in 2003 supported George W. Bush’s war have by now apologized or half-apologized for that. Eric Lee, as far as I know, is not among those individuals. From a comment by Lee on the 2008 United States Presidential elections (especially about Senator Edwards, the candidate favoured by Lee; who, contrary to Lee as far as I know, did apologize for his initial support of the Iraq war), it might seem, very indirectly, that he by now no longer supports the war. Then, why not write about that change, at least as extensively as the earlier pro war items? The Internet is big, so, if I missed this, my apologies to Eric Lee.

By the way, if the pro Bush war propaganda in the media would have worked much more strongly than it did in practice, and people on the Left opposing the war would indeed have become “isolated”; let us suppose that opposition to the Iraq war would have been reduced to just one individual; then that still would not have changed the bloody facts about the war. That one individual left would have been right.

Is there an alternative to LabourStart? Yes, there is LabourNet. The problem with this is that, as far as know, only their site in Turkey has RSS facilities.