Saturday, September 30, 2006

Japan makes people insane, sometimes.

"More than 80 percent of major companies across the
country have employees who are taking sick leaves
because of mental illnesses, a government survey has
shown. Commenting on the survey results, an expert
urges employers to improve working conditions for
employees to prevent them from suffering from mental
diseases. "Companies should keep in mind that no
employees have any concern about their mental health,
and avoid excessive workload and long working hours
that could cause such problems," said Yasuji Imai, a
senior researcher at the Japan Productivity Center for
Socio-Economic Development.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has conducted
the survey, the first of its kind, on 12,051 companies
with 10 employees or more throughout the country in a
bid to compile basic statistics aimed at preventing
work-related accidents. Of them, 8,543 firms

Of the respondents, 3.3 percent said they have
employees who are taking sick leave due to mental
problems. Fully 82 percent of the firms with 1,000
employees or more responded that they have workers who
have been absent from work as a result of mental

Most of them, 97.3 percent, have been away from work
for one month or more. Smaller percentages of small
and medium-sized enterprises have employees suspended
from work due to mental problems, with 66.3 percent of
the firms with 500 to 999 employees 40.9 percent of
those employing 300 to 499 replying so. Only 1.5
percent of small businesses with 10 to 29 workers have
workers who have been absent from duty because of
mental sickness.

In the same survey, 13.4 percent of the firms said
some of their employees work 100 hours or more in
overtime per month. More than 40 percent of firms
with 1,000 employees or more and those with 500 to 999
workers said they have such employees. Some 22.9
percent of companies employing 300 to 499 workers and
12.7 percent of firms with 10 to 29 employees replied
that some of their workers work for 100 hours in
excess of their regular monthly work hours." (Click
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