Takao Kimura talks about his son, Daisuke, whose suicide in 2014 was recognized as death from overwork, in an interview held in Shijonawate, Osaka Prefecture.

OSAKA--A company that sells and installs automatic doors has reached a settlement with the family of an employee whose suicide in 2014 was recognized as “karoshi” (death from overwork).

The Higashi-Osaka Labor Standards Inspection Office in October 2016 ruled that Daisuke Kimura, 28, killed himself as a result of depression stemming from the long hours he worked at Nabco Door Ltd.

The bereaved family was prepared to sue the company after the office’s decision.

But instead of fighting the matter in court, Nabco Door apologized to the family in July this year and held negotiations on compensation and other issues.

An agreement was reached earlier this month on settlement money and the company’s promise to take measures to prevent long working hours.

It is rare for companies to admit responsibility for employees’ suicides and reach a settlement with the bereaved families without going through a trial, according to Teruyuki Ogoshi, a lawyer for the family.

Ogoshi is head of the secretariat for the Osaka-based Jishi-Izoku Shien Bengodan (Group of lawyers to support bereaved families of those who committed suicide).

Kimura, who lived in Shijonawate, also in Osaka Prefecture, killed himself in January 2014 during his sixth year at Nabco Door based in Osaka’s Nishi Ward.

His family said that at the time of his suicide, Kimura was in charge of renovations at a large commercial complex and was also supervising more than 20 other locations.

The labor standards inspection office in Higashi-Osaka recognized that Kimura worked for 12 straight days, including three late-night shifts, and that his overtime work exceeded 100 hours over a 30-day period.

The inspection office concluded that overwork led to Kimura’s depression and suicide.

“We failed to sufficiently grasp (the actual conditions of) the long working hours and workload,” a Nabco Door official said.

The company said it has since significantly bolstered its work force and is holding seminars on labor issues for those in managerial positions.

(This article was written by Teruaki Sakamoto and Chiaki Ogihara.)