Government Office Cites Overwork in Suicide of A-1 Pictures Staff Member
posted on by Emma Hanashiro
The lawyer representing the family of a former A-1 Pictures staff member announced last month that the Shinjuku Labor Standards Inspection Office cited depression due to overwork for the staff member's October 2010 suicide. The Standards Inspection Office reached its decision on April 11.
According to the family's lawyer, the 28-year-old staff member worked at A-1 Pictures as a full-time employee from 2006 to December 2009. During that time, the animation company managed the working hours recorded on the time cards, but medical facilities caring for the staff member record he worked 600 hours a month.
The man's family will receive workers' compensation benefits. The lawyer said regarding the decision, "Harsh working conditions surrounding animation workers have been a big problem for a while now. The government encourages animation businesses to present an image of a 'Cool Japan.' It's unforgivable to export the products of sweatshops. What's indispensable to the anime industry is a decent working environment."
In response to the decision, A-1 Pictures stated that, "If this decision is true, it is unexpected and we cannot comment because the reason for the judgment is unclear." Anime director Daiki Nishimura (School Rumble, Valvrave the Liberator) also commented on the decision on Twitter, saying that "A-1 Pictures is not at fault... the current state of the entire business world that includes A-1 Pictures is at fault. To denounce A-1 Pictures alone is a mistake." He further describes the poor working conditions in the anime industry, confessing he himself had a period of depression due to overwork.