Filipino trainee died of overwork, Japan labour office says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 7:30pm

A Japanese labour standards office said on Monday it has found that overwork led to the 2014 death of a 27-year-old Filipino man who was receiving training at a metal casting company in central Japan.

His death is believed to be the second similar case in the country after a Chinese trainee at a metal processing company in Ibaraki Prefecture was certified to have died of overwork in 2010, according to Advocacy Network for Foreign Trainees in Tokyo, an NGO advocating for foreign trainees.

Japanese people are literally working themselves to death

The Filipino man, Joey Tocnang, arrived in Japan as a technical trainee in August 2011 and was cutting iron and coating casts with chemicals at the company in Gifu Prefecture. He died of heart failure at his company dorm in April 2014 after working between 96 and 115 overtime hours per month in the previous three months.

The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry recognises a strong link between heart diseases and work in cases in which labourers have worked about 100 extra hours in a month leading up to their deaths.

Last year, labour authorities urged the man’s family to file the case as a workplace fatality, suspecting the man’s death was due to overwork.

The government introduced job training programmes in 1993 that allow trainees from developing countries to work in agriculture and other fields in pursuit of skill qualifications, but the system has been criticised as a vehicle for forced labour or a cover for companies to secure low-cost labour.