Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

The mortality rates of men in managerial positions or professional jobs in Japan and South Korea are higher than their counterparts in Europe, a survey shows.

The survey result was released in late May by a research group that included members of the University of Tokyo in Japan and Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

In Japan and South Korea, mortality rates tended to rise during recessions, it also showed.

The research group analyzed the relationship between mortality rates and occupational classes of men aged between 35 to 64 from 1990 to 2015 in Japan, South Korea and eight countries in Europe, including Britain and Switzerland.

In Japan, the mortality rates of men in managerial positions or professional jobs, who were categorized as “upper non-manual workers,” became high in the second half of the 1990s after the asset-inflated “bubble” economy collapsed in its first half.

As a result, the rates exceeded those of men in clerical or service jobs, who were categorized as “lower non-manual workers,” or those of men in manual labor, who were categorized as “manual workers.”

A similar trend was also seen in South Korea in the second half of the 2000s after the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Cancer and suicide marked conspicuous increases as causes of death during recessions.

On the other hand, mortality rates of men working in factories or such industries as construction and transportation were lower in Japan and South Korea than those of their counterparts in Europe.

Mortality rates of men in certain occupational classes did not rise in Europe during the period from the second half of the 1990s to the second half of the 2000s.

The trend in the region for mortality rates of upper non-manual workers to be lower than those of the two other categories was unchanged.

“We can imagine that in Japan, managers who don't get overtime pay worked long hours during recessionary periods,” said Yasuki Kobayashi, professor of medical science at the University of Tokyo.

“Mortality rates of men by occupational class in Japan and South Korea are drastically different from those of Europe. By analyzing causes, we want to lower mortality rates of people in working generations,” he added.

The study result was carried in the online version of the British magazine Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on May 29.