Toyota Worker Dies From Overwork

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

The Japanese government has been ordered by a district court to pay worker's compensation to a woman who claims her husband worked himself to death at Toyota. Yahoo! says Hiroko Unchino applied for compensation after her 30-year old husband, Kenichi, collapsed and died at work in 2002. He'd averaged 80 hours of overtime per month in the six months prior to his death, and had 114 hours overtime for the month before his death. The government acknowledged death from overwork, or karoshi, as a basis for claims in 1987. Since then, they've acknowledged 147 cases. Uchino sued after the Labor Ministry said her husband's case didn't qualify as karoshi. Curiously, Toyota wasn't involved in the suit. Yet.

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  • Dolo54 Dolo54 on Nov 30, 2007

    So Christine is a Toyota?

  • NICKNICK NICKNICK on Nov 30, 2007

    wow. you will never hear about someone working himself to death at a UAW plant. cross-eyed and carpel-tunneltastic from the jobs bank crossword puzzles, but that's about it.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Nov 30, 2007

    The article leaves out of a lot of information and background that could slant the tone of the article significantly. The question I have is: Was the OT he did voluntary? Was he worked to death by Toyota, or his own misguided work ethic. Did his wife push him to work that many hours? Did he have gambling debts? Perhaps he just preferred working to being home with her? Are there labor laws in Japan that were broken? Do they cap hours per week there? Is this amount of hours normal? Or abnormal? Was this case an exception? Or is it par for the course? See... that article gives no context to the case.

  • Neil Neil on Dec 01, 2007

    This was from the AP article: "As a middle manager in charge of quality control at a Toyota factory in Toyota City, Kenichi Uchino had been putting in long hours before he collapsed at work and died in February 2002 at age 30, the lawyer said." It was factory work...yeah, she might have a shot at compensation. I only can say that the expected overtime for automotive office jobs is higher in Japan than in the US, but that some (but fewer) people work just as long in the US.