National

Family to seek damages over suicide of Mitsubishi Electric recruit after series of deaths at firm

Kyodo

The bereaved family of a Mitsubishi Electric Corp. recruit who killed himself in August will claim workers’ compensation and file a damages lawsuit against the company, as they believe the suicide was the result of verbal abuse from a superior, their lawyers said Wednesday.

The suicide of the engineer in his 20s has deepened concerns over the work environment at the major Japanese electronics firm.

Between 2014 and 2017, labor authorities recognized that five male Mitsubishi Electric employees had suffered mental illness as a result of being overworked in their engineering or research duties. Two of them killed themselves.

The lawyers held a news conference in Tokyo after police in Hyogo Prefecture referred the superior in his 30s to prosecutors on Nov. 14 for allegedly abetting the suicide.

The two men worked together to develop systems at a facility in Amagasaki where the new employee was posted in July after joining the company in April.

The lawyers unveiled the content of a note left by the recruit at the scene of his suicide that is believed to have chronicled verbal abuse against him by the superior.

“There’s a perfect window for you to jump from,” the superior allegedly said on Aug. 19, according to the note. The younger employee was found dead Aug. 23.

“We want Mitsubishi Electric to sincerely face the death of our son and make sure such a sad incident will never happen again,” the family said in a statement released by the lawyers. The family has accused the company of lacking a sincere attitude toward them following his death.

“We’re heartbroken, with different emotions coming to our mind as we read many notes — on his work and others — left by our son,” the statement also said.

Mitsubishi Electric expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the family in its own statement released Wednesday.

“We will take seriously the fact that a recruit with a promising future lost his life, and will respond to it with sincerity,” the firm said, but it declined to reveal details of the situation surrounding his death citing the ongoing investigation.

In a separate case, the company has been sued for ¥118 million ($1.1 million) in damages by the parents of a 25-year-old recruit who killed himself after allegedly being bullied by his boss and colleagues in 2017.

Company officials have additionally revealed that a labor standards office concluded the 2017 suicide of an employee at a subsidiary was also work-related, recognizing that he worked more than 100 hours of overtime per month while in a supervisory position.

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