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Tokyo High Court finds that company & former director are liable for employee's overwork death

"1月21日、東京高等裁判所でPOSSEが支援している過労死裁判の判決言い渡しが行われました。", 21 Jan 2021

[Japanese-to-English translation by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

On 21 Jan 2021, the Tokyo High Court handed down a decision in a karoshi lawsuit that NPO POSSE has been supporting [...]

…The Tokyo High Court…reversed the Yokohama District Court’s ruling, recognizing that Sansei Co. Ltd. and its director at the time (factory director Yoshikazu Abe) are responsible [for Mr. A’s death by overwork]. The court further found that the company held 50% of the responsibility for his death—a decision that assigned greater responsibility to the company than the district court’s decision. Because the higher court recognized the director’s responsibility in Mr. A’s death, his family is now eligible to receive compensation. This is a huge step forward: the Tokyo High Court has set a precedent that even if a company has been dissolved, a director of a business entity can be held personally liable for karoshi, allowing the deceased’s family to receive compensation.

However, the court did rule that two of the three executives at Sansei Co. Ltd. were not responsible for Mr.A’s karoshi. Furthermore, while the court did recognize that the company held 50% of the responsibility for Mr. A’s karoshi, it also found that he himself was 50% responsible for his own death. We do not agree with this ruling and are planning to appeal to the Supreme Court [...]