• Jul 9, 2008
Lending a bit of credence to recent allegations made by The National Labor Committee regarding workers right abuses by Toyota is the recent death of a lead engineer on the Camry hybrid project. Although the man died back in 2006, the Japanese Health Ministry has just now ruled that the man died of karoshi, which is a Japanese word meaning death from overwork. This ruling will allow his family to receive benefits from his ex-employer. The 45-year old man is survived by a daughter and his wife, who recalls her husband working long eighty-hour work weeks, along with frequent nights and weekends. Just prior to his death, he was working on shipping logistics related to the Detroit Auto Show, a trip he missed by just one day. Toyota responded to the ruling by saying that it would monitor its workers health more closely. Thanks for the tip, Ledwinka!
[Source: AP via Yahoo]


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  • 67 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      My hat's off to Toyota who responded to the ruling by saying they'll monitor their employees health more closely. The US response would be "were gonna appeal".
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think it's awesome some people in this world still show such trust like you do.

        In Japan, you always defer to authority when speaking. It doesn't mean your actions will be consistent with what you say. And past history in this case indicates they're no more likely to change than a US company would be.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My condolences to the family. Unfortunately, karoshi is a common problem in Japanese society.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And so is suicide, if I'm not mistaken.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Eighty hour work weeks? I would die. No pun intended....

      I'm sorry for their loss. :(
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was pretty common to put in 60+ weeks (aka 80 hours of overtime a month if using a 40 hour work week) when I was in grad school. But then again, grad students are glorified slaves. I feel for the guy and his family though. I hated that extra work and by the end I was pretty burnt out. Thankfully those days have long since passed for me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Grad school... one is "investing" in yourself. I went to art school where we did similar hours (& most creative jobs pay much less than jobs that require grad school degrees).

        I know designers (stylist) at companies who work the "free" O.T. when competing for concept car sketch-offs. Many creatives working in advertising work 80 hour weeks hoping to move up the ladder & become the boss (Lead Art Director). Engineers who work in Motorsports spend uncounted "free" time prepping their racecars.

        We are all not wired the same way. Some just want to be told what do & for how long. I'm sure some union guys love their job... many are doing it to collect the promised wage (& the O.T) to send their kids to school... some just make the economy move by buying the jet ski, the boats & the cottages on the lake.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This happens in every industry in Japan. It's not an isolated incident.
      • 6 Years Ago
      An engineer that works long hours. That's not unusual.

      The real question is why does Autoblog give legitimacy to a pro-Union hate group. This is nothing more than free PR for these guys.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm with Goat on this one. Working stiffs move the economy just like the college grads.

        Japanese get blamed for "dumping" product in the USA & their government also gets tagged "pro union"

        Please pick one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Japanese Health Ministry is a "a pro-Union hate group"? Wow, you guys are hard core around here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      wii wiwll monidor workuhs mor cwosewii.



      wowhk wowhk wowhk!

      (sorry...couldn't...resist.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are more asshole Japanese sympathizers on this site than any other, I do believe. Most of you people don't know your ass from a hole in the ground, death from overwork in Japan is quite common.

      Most of Toyota's Japanese workers are forced to work 16 hours a day, many are underage, and all are underpaid. That people is how they can sell the Prius as cheap as they do, aren't you rice eaters proud now?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Please provide a link to the article outing Japan for child labor. I highly doubt the Prius is made by 12 year old sweat shop labor.

        Are there kids working in Kentucky or how about some slave labor in TX building the toyotas there?
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...You do know that it's seen as good in Japan to work long hours per week?

        And underage workers? Damn, I need a job. Where do I sign up! And heck yes, I love Toyota even more now!

        (OK, the last statement was partially sarcastic)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @MoonRover

        You are a typical ignorant American who doesn't know beans about the rest of the world.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "You are a typical ignorant American who doesn't know beans about the rest of the world."

        Genie - don't lump that guy in with the rest of America. Makes you look ignorant, & certainly arrogant. I would be willing to wager that most of us "ignorant Americans" can distinguish between a Japanese autoworker and a kid in Vietnam making tennis shoes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What's funny is that if this happened in China, everybody would be writing essays about the big bad communist (which by the way is 50 years out of fashion, the new thing these day is "terrorism")

        But since this happened in Japan, our good ally, everything is cool.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That is just sad. That means he worked half the week straight. That leaves 88 hours to sleep and be with his family. If this guy slept 6 hrs a day he is down to only 42 hrs to himself. Horrible!
      • 6 Years Ago
      For the purpose of perspective, I'm in my 40's. My older relatives like to say their generation 'lived to work' and our generation 'works to live.' How true.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Two words you will NEVER see together in the same sentence: "Teamster" and "karoshi".

        • 6 Years Ago
        Todd: your statement made my day.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What pride is that? The pride in knowing that by using uncompetitive, monopolistic practices, their union bosses can extract money for themselves and they can be overpaid for crappy work, all while feeling entitled to it. That sure sounds like kind of pride UAW workers exhibit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ....or "Teamster" and "working lunch" for that matter.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Goat Law ... how about joing the 21st century. Built with pride by the UAW is why a company like Ford can have more vehicles that are recommended buys in Consumer Reports than any other manufacturer. Why Ford's quality ratings are equal to both Toyota and Honda. Why Ford's are among the most reliable vehicles available.

        That fellow citizen you say is "overpaid for crappy work, all while feeling entitled to it. That sure sounds like kind of pride UAW workers exhibit." is the guy who bought a house ... bought a T.V. ... bought a VCR ... bought furniture ... bought gorceries for his family ... in short he was the middle class whose buying power fueled an entire world economy. Just some guy who played football in High School married his High School sweetheart and had a couple of kids and was living the American dream. Yea, that guy is the enemy alright.

        You just keep drinking that anti-union Kool-Aid while the CEO laughs all the way to the bank.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Teamsters also drive the fork trucks in the plants (not UAW).

        At NUMMI, the fork truck drivers use a job ticket system. You take your truck to the dispatch, get a job ticket, pick the part, drop it at a station and return to the dispatch. It works great.

        In Flint, the fork truck drivers are assigned to two stations on the line, they only pick parts for those two stations, and they sit on their butts the rest of the time or just drive slower.

        When GM approached the Teamsters to change to a NUMMI-style system, the Teamsters local said that tehy wouldn't do it because they would get repetitive strain injury just turning the fork truck key on and off. The real reason was because it would mean GM would need fewer people to drive fork trucks at the plant (thus saving money). When GM said they wouldn't lay anyone off, just wouldn't replace fork truck drivers as they retire or quit, the Teamsters still would not relent.

        My father worked as a personnel manager at what is now Flint Metal Center, most significantly during the 2nd most recent nationwide UAW strike against GM (where Flint Metal Center was chosen at the primary negotiating point).
      • 6 Years Ago
      For some reason, it reminds me of one old guy in Korea died while playing Starcraft too long. (like 3 days straight w/o sleeping)
      I'd rather choose to die while....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unions have hurt America (which also means American workers) by not letting market forces work. They great for lazy workers and hurt the productive ones by treating them as equals.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Market forces are not the end all and be all. I have 16 years experience in a union shop. At my car plant there are no lazy workers. You get your job by seniority, so the longer you are there the better job you will have. When you fail to perform your job, you are disqualified from it. Trust me I still have a very physically demanding line job after 16 years, but I do it every working day. There is no such thing as a lazy day on my job. So unless you have walked the walk in a union shop, don't talk your uninformed crap.
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