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Disneyland entertainer awarded compensation over pain linked to performances

Kyodo

A woman employed as a costumed performer at Tokyo Disneyland was awarded labor compensation after developing a disorder that caused acute pain in her arm, the park’s operator said Wednesday.

Since February 2015, the 28-year-old contract worker has performed in parades wearing various characters’ costumes, each of which weighed around 10 kg, Oriental Land Co. said.

According to her labor union, compensation is usually awarded for injuries on the job, and it is rare for labor authorities to acknowledge the link between work and the development of a pain disorder. The compensation was granted in August.

A company official said, “The labor authorities did not say excessive workload was involved, and we did not violate safety obligations.”

From November to December last year, she performed in some 50 shows such as Christmas parades, which lasted about 45 minutes each time. She was required to raise her arms above her head as part of the performances.

She began to feel something wrong with her neck, left arm and fingers in November. Two months later, she visited a clinic when the pain had become so severe she could not sleep at night.

After being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which causes numbness and pain due to compressed nerve and blood vessels, she took leave from work. Although she has yet to fully recover, she is in talks with the company to work under less physically demanding conditions.

“We take the matter seriously and will take full countermeasures,” a company official said.