Japan logs record work-induced mental disorders for 5th straight year

Photo: Kyodo

The number of mental disorder cases recognized as work-induced in fiscal 2023 hit a record high for the fifth consecutive year at 883, up 173 from the previous year, the government said Friday, Kyodo reports. 

The rising trend may be attributed in part to growing awareness among the public that mental disorders, such as depression, qualify for workers' compensation, an official of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

Of the total, 79 cases involved suicides and attempted suicides during the fiscal year through March 2024, an increase of 12 from the previous year.

The number of mental disorders caused by customer abuse stood at 52 incidents, with most of the victims being female workers. This tally was the first of its kind since the ministry added customer harassment, including physical and verbal violence against workers, to the list of incidents that can cause mental stress in its revised workers' compensation certification standards in September last year.

Workplace bullying and harassment by superiors was the leading cause of mental disorders at 157, up 10 from the previous year, followed by experiencing or witnessing serious accidents or disasters at 111, sexual harassment at 103, and significant changes in workload or job duties at 100.

By occupation, those working in social security and welfare, as well as nursing care, recorded the highest number of work-related mental health problems at 112, followed by medical care at 105.

Also, a record high 3,575 applications were filed for workers' compensation coverage related to mental disorders, marking an increase of 892 from the previous year, with 34.2 percent of them deemed eligible, according to the survey.

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