Mitsubishi Electric apologizes for harassment by power behind new employee’s suicide

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An attorney representing the surviving family of a Mitsubishi Electric Corp. employee. who took his own life after being subjected to harassment by power shows a handwritten note the man left at Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on August 26, 2022, detailing his trainer’s abusive language. (Mainichi/Takashi Kokaji)

TOKYO – The family of a Mitsubishi Electric Corp. employee who took his own life after being severely harassed by his boss has reached an out-of-court settlement with the company, the family’s lawyer announced at a news conference Aug. 26 in known to Tokyo.

As part of the settlement, the Japanese electronics giant acknowledged that the man’s suicide in 2019 shortly after he joined the company was caused by his boss’s power harassment and apologized. The company vowed to take steps to prevent a repeat, such as providing training on how to counter harassment by those in power.

Although the manager in the case had previously been warned of excessive harshness towards subordinates, he was the senior junior staff instructor at the time of the 2019 incident.

According to attorney Chikara Shimasaki and Mitsubishi Electric, the Aug. 23 settlement agreement recognizes that the company’s appointment of the harasser as head coach and other breaches of duty of care led to the young worker’s suicide. The family of the victim, who was in his 20s at the time of his death, had fought out of court for damages and a firm apology.

The man’s family released a statement about the settlement, saying: “It’s been three years now but our hearts still break when we think of our son. We hope that Mitsubishi Electric will not let our son’s death go to waste and improve to prevent an incident like this from ever happening again. We demand that harassment-free work environments be established in all workplaces.”

Mitsubishi Electric stated: “We sincerely apologize to the grieving family members. It will be a top priority for our management to work to ensure that the labor issue does not recur among our workforce.” The company added that in response to the case, it has already taken preventive measures, including having all employees take written oaths to not to commit harassment.

The man killed himself in a park near a company residence in Hyogo Prefecture in August 2019 after being assigned to the company’s Manufacturing Engineering Center in the city of Amagasaki. In a handwritten note left at the scene, the man quoted the head coach as saying, “I’ll kill you if you can’t answer the same question next time.”

After the suicide, his family applied for worker’s compensation insurance, claiming that their son’s death was the result of harassment by those in power. The Amagasaki Labor Standards Bureau recognized the case as an industrial accident in February 2021.

(Japanese original by Natsuko Ishida, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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