Outing ‘karoshi’ companies prejudicial: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a citizens’ group demanding that the state disclose the names of firms whose employees were officially confirmed to have died from overwork, saying this could harm their corporate reputation.

The group in March 2009 requested that the Osaka Labor Bureau identify companies within its jurisdiction that paid workman’s compensation for employee deaths in the previous seven years due to strokes, heart attacks and other health problems determined to have been caused by overwork, or “karoshi.”

After the bureau decided against disclosure, the group took the case to the Osaka District Court. The court ordered the companies be named, ruling that doing so would not immediately discredit them.

But the Osaka High Court overturned the decision, saying that certifying brain and heart disease for worker compensation does not necessarily mean the companies were negligent or violated laws and that identification could undermine their reputation. The Supreme Court ruling, dated Tuesday, supported that judgment.

Meanwhile, the Labor Lawyers Association of Japan and about 160 lawyers handling employment-related complaints, including long work hours and harassment, said they will host a telephone consultation in 28 prefectures Tuesday for workers who fall victim to such issues.

  • At least the Japanese government is more transparent in their benevolence and collusion with corporations. In ten years from now, Japanese corporations besides constantly being able to successfully break the law with impunity (Olympus as a prime example) will be allowed to disappear disgruntled workers.

    • Selchuk Driss

      But the Soylent Green will still be imported thanks to the TPP.

  • Starviking

    Ah, so companies’ reputations trump the right to life. Thanks for clarifying that Supreme Court.