'Overwork' killed Filipino in Japan, authorities said

Coconuts Manila

Posted at Oct 20 2016 12:32 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2016 01:28 PM

MANILA - Japanese authorities confirmed that the death of a 27-year-old Filipino in Gifu Prefecture in April 2014 was a case of "karoshi," or death by overwork, The Asahi Shimbun reported Monday, October 17.

Joey Tocnang died of heart failure three months before he was scheduled to go back to the Philippines. Authorities said that his death was caused by the long hours that he was forced to render. He was logging in 78.5 to 122.5 hours of overtime a month prior to his death.

Tocnang came to Japan in 2011 to work at a casting company in the Gifu Prefecture. He was tasked to cut steel and apply chemicals to a mold.

Tocnang was paid the minimum wage, and he sent most of his salary to his family in the Philippines.

Upon the advice of the Japanese labor office, Tocnang's family applied for claims and compensation which was awarded in Aug this year. His wife and daughter are entitled to receive 3 million yen (about PHP1,400,000) in a lump sum payment and about 2 million (about PHP900,000) yen annually in a survivor’s annuity.

Japanese lawmakers are in the middle of reviewing a bill to improve the working conditions of foreign trainees in Japan. Tocnang was the first documented case of a foreign trainee dying from overwork since 2011.

Japan Times added that the Gifu labor office found Tocnang’s employer also overworked two other Filipinos, as well as a Japanese national.

This story was first published in Coconuts Manila.