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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 8 - 14  > Protect public workers from working themselves to death: JCP Umemura
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2017 February 8 - 14 [LABOR]

Protect public workers from working themselves to death: JCP Umemura

February 9, 2017
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Umemura Saeko on February 8 at a House of Represetatives Budget Committee meeting took up the issue of Japan’s excessive work hours which drive even local government workers to death from overwork.

Umemura pointed out that at the Shiga Prefectural government office, the number of workers who worked over 1,000 hours of overtime during the year exceeded 20 in 2015.

The JCP lawmaker also noted that over the past 15 years, 192 municipal workers died due to work-related diseases. Of them, 119 workers suffered from brain and cardiovascular diseases and 73 had mental health problems. Citing the fact that most of the 192 workers died after working overtime for more than 80 hours a month on average, Umemura said, “Keep in mind that 80 hours of overtime a month is the established danger line for death from overwork.”

Umemura explained that some municipal governments have received recommendations from local labor standard inspection offices to stop forcing their workers to work long hours. Stating, “Local governments are tasked to perform duties in accordance with relevant laws. Nevertheless, they are accused of violating work hour rules,” she criticized the Abe government for proclaiming that it will achieve shorter working hours through its work style reform while overlooking the current situation.

Umemura also pointed out that it is unacceptable for local authorities to neglect the 8-hour day, 40-hour week principle. She said, “In order to eliminate excessively long working hours, the pressing need is to put a cap on overtime for local government workers.”

Past related articles:
> Japan needs work hour regulations that actually work [November 29, 2016]
> Gov’t responsibility for prevention of ‘karoshi’ enshrined in law [June 21, 2014]
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