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article imageMazda ordered to pay damages in employee's suicide

By Lynn Curwin     Feb 28, 2011 in Business
Kobe - Mazda was ordered by a Japanese court to pay 63 million yen ($770,000 -£473,000 ) in damages to the parents of an employee who was ruled to have committed suicide due to depression from being overworked.
Japan Today reported that Judge Ryuji Nakamura said Mazda should have taken care of the health of the employee, who was not provided with support when his work hours were lengthened due to difficulties with clients.
He said both the quality and quantity of work being done by the 25-year-old man, who has not been named because of the stigma associated with suicide in Japan, was excessive.
There were also claims that bosses ridiculed the employee, who killed himself in 2007, in front of co-workers.
Mazda had previously given the family a condolence payment. The latest sum will bring the total amount they received through payments to 110 million yen ($1.3 million - £825, 000).
Mazda Motor Corp. had been claiming the death was not work-related, and has said it will review the details of the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.
"We feel it is extremely regrettable to have lost a precious employee," Yahoo News reported that the company said in a statement. "We offer our condolences from the bottom of our hearts."
Deaths caused by overwork are called "karoshi" (exhaustion death) in Japan. They are usually caused by a heart attack or stroke.
A survey done last year showed that Japanese men in their thirties are now spending more time at home after work and on weekends.
"Working may not be the most important thing for people in their 30s now," The Japan Times quoted researcher Toshiyuki Kobayashi as saying. "There are also people who are not allowed to work overtime or who cannot afford to spend money on leisure activities."
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