Japanese School in Japan,Fukuoka - NILS

NILS Fukuoka Times

What’s Happening Now in Fukuoka & Japan in November 2019


Suicide of Mitsubishi Electric unit employee caused by overwork – Kobe

A labour standard office has concluded that the 2017 suicide of an employee at a Mitsubishi Electric Corp unit was work-related, recognizing he did more than 100 hours of overtime per month while in a supervisory position, company officials said.

The Oct 4 certification for the death of the engineer in his 40s at Melco Semiconductor Engineering Corp came as labour authorities have stepped up monitoring after finding that a slew of firms have promoted workers to supervisory positions to make them work longer hours. The Japanese labour law limits working hours of regular employees but the restrictions do not apply to workers in supervisory positions.

The worker was on loan to another Mitsubishi Electric unit from April 2013 and became mentally ill after working extensively at a plant in Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture. He killed himself in December 2017 after being transferred to work in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, and his family filed for the certification of his death as work-related in July last year. In Fukuoka, the discretionary labour system was applied to him. It rewards workers based on fixed overtime work hours instead of actual hours worked.

The labour authorities awarded workers’ compensation to five employees at Mitsubishi Electric between 2014 and 2017, of whom two had committed suicide.

Search continues for 12-year-old girl who vanished 5 days ago in Osaka – Osaka

Police in Osaka said Friday they have not been able to find any clues as to the whereabouts of a 12-year-old girl who vanished after leaving her home on the morning of Nov 17. Iroha Akasaka, a sixth-grade student who lives in Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Ward, left home after eating breakfast at around 7 a.m. last Sunday and has not been seen or heard from since, Fuji TV reported. She had a smartphone with her but it has apparently been turned off. Iroha is 150 centimetres tall with a slender build, short black hair.

Police said they have received about 40 tips regarding possible sightings of Iroha, but none of the information has led to any promising leads. On Thursday, more than 60 people searched around her neighbourhood.

Harajuku Station will be demolished after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics – Tokyo

Back in June 2016, East Japan Railway announced it would be rebuilding Harajuku Station ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and while the new design promised a more modern building better able to cope with the huge crowds of commuters in the area, they were yet to make a decision on whether they would be able to preserve the old building or somehow merge it into the facade of the new one.

Now, after three years of consultations with local retail associations and Shibuya Ward, where the station is located, JR East has come to a decision over the fate of the near-century-old building, and the conclusion they’ve reached is that the old station needs to be demolished.

While the building, which was built in 1924 in a European style, is Tokyo’s oldest wooden station and a historic landmark, the structure itself isn’t sufficiently fire-resistant, and therefore needs to be taken away for safety reasons.

The wooden building will be torn down after the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo and replaced with a new one currently being built adjacent to it, with the grand opening scheduled for March 21 next year. While the new station will take over operations when it opens, the final completion date for works at the site is scheduled for Aug 31, 2021, a year after the Olympic Games.

While the old station building will disappear from the landscape, JR East says it will honour the former structure by using fire-resistant materials to recreate its European look as much as possible in the new building. However, plans for the new modern-looking two-story structure, which include a new entrance on the Meiji Jingu side of the station, show a building that looks worlds away from the original.

While JR East has made no mention as to whether or not the building will be preserved and relocated, which has been the case for a number of historic buildings in Japan’s past, many people are now holding on to the hope that the building won’t be simply torn down and completely lost forever.

And given all the changes that the capital is currently seeing as new buildings pop up all over Shibuya ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, ensuring old Japan continues to thrive with the new is increasingly becoming an important issue.


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