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Japan mulls adding power harassment to job-related mental illness criteria

A government building housing the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is seen in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry is looking into adding mental disorders caused by power harassment to worker's compensation coverage, it has been learned.

If workplace power harassment is added to the criteria for recognizing work-related illnesses, it would make it easier for victims to explain the situation when they apply for worker's comp, possibly leading to quick recognition of their claims.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare began the discussion at a meeting of experts on Dec. 17 and is aiming to come up with a conclusion by June 2020, when the revised labor policy general promotion law comes into effect. The amendment is designed to require companies to take preventive measures against power harassment.

Under the current work-related illness recognition standards, introduced in 2011, severe harassment, bullying, assault or trouble with superiors are listed as factors eligible for recognition. By explicitly adding power harassment, the ministry aims to make it easier to find out what is actually occurring and help prevent such abuse.

In fiscal 2018, there were 1,820 worker's compensation claims over mental illnesses -- a record high for the sixth straight year.

(Japanese original by Hidenori Yazawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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