One in three workers has fallen victim to abuses of authority at work in the past three years, according to a labor ministry survey.

The online survey, taken last July, covered male and female company workers across Japan aged between 20 and 64.

Of around 10,000 respondents, 32.5 percent said they had been victims of abuse of authority during the preceding three years, up 7.2 percentage points from the previous survey of July 2012.

The corresponding ratio exceeded 30 percent in all age brackets and had risen at least 5 points from the previous survey, including 34.1 percent, or up 6.9 points, in 30-somethings and 33.1 percent, an increase of 9.8 points, among those in their 20s.

When the respondents were asked to specify the types of abuse of authority, the largest number of them, 54.9 percent, cited “psychological offense,” including verbal abuse, intimidation and insults.

The second most frequent answer was “excessive demands,” or the coercion of needless work or unachievable duties, at 29.9 percent, followed by “ignoring, ostracism and similar practices” at 24.8 percent.

“Rising public recognition of abuse of authority may have led to a growth in the number of people who believe they have suffered from it,” said a labor ministry official on the results, which were released in May.