Groundbreaking case this past week on Trainees rights in Japan

Chinese trainee died of 'karoshi'

In a landmark decision involving foreign vocational trainees, the Labor Standards Inspection Office in Kajima, Ibaraki Prefecture, has recognized the June 2008 death of a Chinese man working at a metal processing company as a case of karoshi, or death from overwork.
The labor inspection office sent papers to prosecutors on Friday accusing the company and its 66-year-old operator of violating the Labor Standards Law by imposing excessively long work hours and failing to pay overtime.
According to the office, Jiang Xiaodong, 31, died of acute heart failure while asleep in June 2008, three years after coming to Japan as a trainee. In the three months prior to his death, Jiang worked between 93 to 109 hours in overtime each month, the office said.
The office also found that two other Chinese vocational trainees at the company had been forced to work long overtime hours, and that the trainees were paid only 400 yen an hour in overtime, much lower than the minimum permissible wage.
The company owed the three a total of 180,000 yen ($2,050) in unpaid wages, the office said.
The operator of the metal processing company told The Asahi Shimbun that he did not force the trainees to undertake overtime work.


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