The suicide of a 23-year-old man who was overseeing construction at the new National Stadium in Tokyo has officially been recognized as a work-related incident, which resulted from mental illness brought on by excessive overtime, it was learned on Oct. 10.
The decision, which was finalized by Tokyo's Shinjuku Labor Standards Inspection Office on Oct. 6, was made public by the bereaved family's lawyer, Hiroshi Kawahito.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, this is the first time that an overwork-induced suicide connected to construction of the new National Stadium -- the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics -- has been recognized.
Kawahito explained that the man joined construction firm Sanshin Corp. in spring 2016, and was put in charge of foundation improvement at the new stadium site from mid-December that year. On March 2, 2017, he went missing after a relentless spell of excessive overtime, and was later found dead in Nagano Prefecture on April 15. It is thought that he took his own life shortly after going missing.
Upon examining the man's entry and exit records at the site, the Shinjuku Labor Standards Inspection Office determined that the man had worked about 190 hours of overtime in the month before he went missing -- which exceeds the death from overwork standard of 100 hours a month.
The man was chronically sleep-deprived from around February 2017, and he developed mental health issues in early March, making the labor office conclude that he "resorted to suicide as a result of a significant drop in his ability to make rational judgments."
Kawahito also conveyed the feelings of the man's parents: "The sadness of never being able to see our son smile again will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We want the firm to commit to improving its working environment."
Meanwhile, an official for Sanshin said, "We will do our utmost to improve our working conditions to ensure that this never happens again."