Chinese ‘karoshi’ trainee’s family wins damages

Kyodo

Relatives of a Chinese trainee who died of “karoshi,” or overwork, in 2008 have settled a damages suit against the firm where the victim was employed.

The relatives had sued Fuji Denka Kogyo in Itako, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the trainee-coordination body for ¥57.5 million. The Lawyers’ Network for Foreign Trainees, which represented the plaintiffs, said it is the first litigation involving the death of a foreign trainee due to overwork as determined by a local labor office.

The firm and trainee coordinator agreed Monday to pay an undisclosed settlement at the Mito District Court, the lawyers said.

Jiang Xiaodong came to Japan from China in 2005 and worked at the company under a government-authorized training program for foreigners. He died of cardiac arrest at age 31 while sleeping in a company dormitory in June 2008 after working as much as 180 hours of overtime a month, according to the suit.

The local labor office attributed the death’s causes to karoshi in November 2010. The damages suit was filed in March 2011.