Workers at 37 firms building Tokyo’s new National Stadium found to have racked up illegal overtime

JIJI

Illegal overtime has been found at 37 of the 762 companies involved in the construction of the new National Stadium in Tokyo, the labor ministry’s Tokyo Labor Bureau has said.

The companies were ordered to take corrective measures after they were found to have violated the labor standards law, the bureau said Friday.

It discovered the illegal overtime through its survey of work conditions at the construction site for the Tokyo stadium, which will be used as the main venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The survey was launched in July after bereaved relatives of a male construction company worker, 23, who killed himself in March, filed to get his suicide recognized by labor authorities as work-related, claiming that he developed depression due to overwork.

At 18 of the 37 companies, overtime exceeded 80 hours a month, the threshold used by authorities for recognizing deaths from overwork, the bureau said. Monthly overtime topped 150 hours at three firms.

Overtime was 45 hours or less at eight firms, but they failed to submit labor-management accords on overtime to relevant local labor standards inspection bureaus.

The Tokyo Labor Bureau confirmed excessively long work hours and other problems, such as labor management flaws, at 128 firms, including the 37.

“We’ll continue surveillance and give necessary instructions to companies involved in the stadium construction to ensure workers’ safety and protect their health” for successful hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, an official of the bureau said.