The Osaka High Court overturned an earlier decision of the Osaka District Court concerning the identification of companies whose employees died of overwork. The decision was upheld on Tuesday by the Japanese Supreme Court following appeal from civic groups to have the companies named.
According to the Osaka High Court, having brain and cardiovascular diseases as the causes of death of employees does not prove that companies have been negligent of their workers’ welfare. The high court also stated that such does not guarantee the violation of laws by companies, adding that the release of the companies’ names will only risk their reputation. Civic groups have made appeals to the high court when it overturned the decision of the Osaka District Court, which stated that doing so does not necessarily put involved companies to blame. The district court affirmed that companies involved should be named.
The civic groups have requested for the Osaka Labour Bureau back in March 2009 to release the name of companies whose employees suffered from physical infirmities related to their post because of prolonged working hours. Some have died because of stroke and heart attacks, two of the common and top causes of death resulting from overwork, commonly referred to as karoshi. Too much stress from work also aggravates poor health condition of an employee, if not leads to cardiovascular diseases or stroke. Other illnesses are also said to have caused death among overworked employees. There is also a concern over increasing karojisatsu or “suicide caused by overwork” among employees in the country.