Hi Blog. In a sad precedent, we have a clear case of death through overwork being officially recognized as such for a NJ doctor. It’s sadder that it has taken so long (more than two years) for that official recognition to come through. I’ve long realized that Japan has at times some pretty crazy work ethics (and a peer group atmosphere that encourages people to give their all, even until they die), but it seems even more crazy for NJ to leave their societies to come to a place that will work them to death. Especially as a NJ “trainee”, where they have even fewer labor-law rights than the locals who are in similar work circumstances. This situation has to be known about, since Japan’s immigration laws aren’t allowing a labor market where enough doctors (even imported ones) can satiate the perpetual labor shortage being referred to below. Only when GOJ authorities realize that the jig is up, because the international labor force is avoiding Japan as a harsh labor market to work within, will things change. Arudou Debito
Death of Chinese medical intern recognized as work-related
December 26, 2012 (Mainichi Japan), courtesy of Yokohama John
A regional labor standards inspection office in Aomori Prefecture has recognized that a Chinese trainee doctor who was working at a municipal hospital died from overwork, a lawyer representing the victim has disclosed.
It is reportedly the country’s first case in which a foreign doctor working in Japan has been recognized by a labor standards office as having died from overwork.
The Hirosaki Labor Standards Inspection Office in Aomori Prefecture acknowledged that the 2010 death of Lu Yongfu, a Chinese trainee doctor at a municipal hospital in Hirosaki, was work-related, in a decision on Dec. 20. Lu died at the age of 28 after working up to 121 hours overtime a month.
Ayako Hiramoto, a lawyer representing the victim, revealed the labor office’s decision during a news conference on Dec. 25.
According to the office, Lu had worked between 84 and 121 hours overtime per month before he died of an acute circulatory disorder in November 2010. His average monthly overtime hours surpassed 80 hours — the criteria for certifying death from overwork, or “karoshi” in Japanese.
The trainee was on duty almost all weekends except for the summer break, and had two to four night shifts a month that left him working on day shifts the following day without enough sleep, according to the labor office.
Lu had arrived in Japan in 2002 and graduated from the school of medicine at Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture before starting his internship at the hospital in April 2010.
Hiramoto said there were at least six other cases in Japan in which trainee doctors had died from overwork in the past.
“Regional areas are suffering from a serious shortage of doctors, while the management of their work hours is sloppy. Drastic measures need to be taken,” she said.
Original Japanese story
毎日新聞 2012年12月25日 19時01分