Labor authorities have recognized the 2019 suicide of a Mitsubishi Motors Corp. employee as a work-related death resulting from overtime of over 139 hours per month, an attorney said Wednesday.
A labor standards inspection office in Tokyo determined on May 28 that the 47-year-old male employee's death was due to a mental health problem he developed as a result of the overwork, lawyer Hiroshi Kawahito said at a news conference.
According to Kawahito, the employee, who joined the automaker in April 1993, was for years involved mainly in the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles, before being assigned in January 2018 to minivehicle product planning, in which he had no experience.
After the company decided to launch in late March 2019 a new model it had developed with another automaker, he became extremely busy coordinating work between the two companies and meeting with dealerships to promote the model. He committed suicide in his corporate dormitory room in Yokohama on Feb. 7 the same year.
The labor standards office in Minato Ward found that the employee worked over 139 hours of overtime in the month before his death. The lawyer said the overtime exceeded 153 hours when time spent working on a computer outside the office is included.
His wife said she hopes that the company will improve its personnel management to prevent work-related deaths.
"Taking seriously the situation in which our employee died, we are studying details (of the incident)," Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement.