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Accumulated Fatigue May be Considered in the Standards for Recognizing "Karoshi"
Accumulated Fatigue May be Considered in the Standards for Recognizing
In determining whether a worker who died of so-called "Karoshi"
(death due to overwork) caused by cerebro-vascular diseases and/or ischemic
heart diseases (excluding those attributable to injuries) is qualified
for workmen's accident compensation insurance as an occupational disease,
the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has hitherto applied "the
Standards for Recognizing Brain and Heart Diseases," as amended in
February 1995. In February 2000, however, the Supreme Court has ruled against
the government in the cases of two vehicle drivers, in which the chiefs
of the relevant labor standards inspection offices determined that the
deaths were not caused by occupation-related diseases. In determining whether
these workers had been exposed to heavy job-related burdens, the Supreme
Court ruled that although specific standards were not shown for chronic
fatigue and other factors arising from working conditions, such factors
must be included in the examination process.
In response to this ruling, the MHLW's Expert Examination Meeting on the
Standards for Recognizing Brain/Heart Diseases (chairman: Isao Wada, professor
of Saitama Medical School) announced the result of its examination in which
new standards are suggested to extend the period during which a worker's
working conditions must be examined from the current "one week before
the appearance of symptoms" to "six months before the appearance
The Ministry intends to immediately amend the standards for recognizing
brain/heart diseases on the basis of the examination result.