Tokyo
Tokyo District Court ruled Sun Challenge restaurant chain must pay the damages to the man's parents.Reuters

A Tokyo Court has ruled that a major restaurant chain must pay 58 million yen (£317,000, £500,000) in damages after overworking an employee to the point of suicide.

The man, who was a manager at Sun Challenge steakhouse, had been working 190 hours overtime a month and was suffering abusive treatment from his supervisor.

The 24-year-old took his life in November 2010, having worked at the Tokyo restaurant for three years. In that time he is believed to have taken just two days off.

Tokyo District Court have ruled the money must be paid out by the restaurant company to the man's parents.

It transpired during the court case that the unnamed man had also been subject to verbal abuse and physical violence from his supervisor during his time at the restaurant.

"With only one holiday given to him every several months, the psychological load of prolonged work and power harassment caused his mental disorder," presiding Judge Akira Yamada told reporters, according to a Kyodo News report.

A lawyer for the man's parents has called the ruling "epoch-making" in the way that it shines a light on the problems of harassment at work, reported Kyodo News.

There is a prevalent culture in Japan for working long, hard hours, and people working themselves into physical illness is a common problem in the country, which even has a special term to describe this: "karoshi", which translates as "death by overwork".

The expression was coined in the 1980s when the number of suicides or early deaths caused by overworking and stress spiked.