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The number of workers certified by the government as being eligible for compensation for mental disease increased to 36 in fiscal 2000 from the previous year’s 14, according to a government survey made available Tuesday.

Of the 36, 19 killed themselves after suffering serious depression related to the workplace, according to the survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The 36 included a software programmer who worked more than 100 hours overtime per month, driven by high performance requirements, the survey said.

The number of female workers increased sharply from two to 12 over the same period.

In addition to excessive work, there were cases in which multiple human relationship factors were involved, such as sexual harassment, bullying and reprimands by superiors, the survey said.

Ministry officials said the figures began to increase sharply in fiscal 1999, apparently because the then Labor Ministry eased guidelines of certification during the year. Fiscal years start in April.

The ministry had granted similar compensation certification to only 15 people during the 16 years from fiscal 1983.

By age, the highest number of people certified during fiscal 2000 were those in their 40s, with 11 people, the poll said. Eight were aged in their 30s, and seven were in their 20s. Twelve of the certified were technicians, 10 were company employees in management positions and four were salespeople.

There were 212 applications for compensation for workers’ mental diseases in fiscal 2000, up 57.

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