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Honda dealership apologizes for worker's overwork-induced suicide, settles with family

CHIBA -- A Honda Motor Co.-affiliated car dealership here and the family of its former manager who killed himself after developing depression reached a settlement on Jan. 17, following a lawsuit filed by the family claiming that the manager's illness, which led to his suicide, was induced by long working hours.

According to case records, the man, 48 at the time of his death, became the manager at an outlet of Honda Cars Chiba dealership in the city of Chiba, which opened in March 2015. Five months later, he was diagnosed as having developed stress-induced depression and was given a notice of dismissal from the company. In September 2016, the man filed for a labor tribunal with the Chiba District Court, but killed himself in December of that year.

The Chiba Labor Standards Inspection Office in June 2017 acknowledged the man's death as a work-related incident, stating that it could be understood that the man took a heavy workload to reduce the working hours of other staff members.

The man's family subsequently sued the company, demanding roughly 135 million yen in compensation. The firm had argued that the labor inspection office's decision was wrong, but in late December it made a sudden about-face and proposed a settlement.

According to a lawyer representing the family, the company admitted that the man's suicide was caused by overwork, apologized to the family and is set to pay them settlement fees. The amount of the payment has not been revealed.

Honda Cars Chiba has released a statement, saying that it would like to "offer a sincere apology for causing the man as well as his family great sorrow and emotional pain," while admitting that the man's dismissal should be nullified and that the firm had breached its obligation to pay proper attention to labor safety.

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