Police in Hyogo Prefecture have sent papers to prosecutors alleging an employee at Mitsubishi Electric Corp. induced the suicide of a rookie employee he was training through power harassment at work, including reportedly telling him to die.

The senior employee in his 30s is being investigated under a Criminal Law provision for inducing suicide, a rare instance in which power harassment is deemed as a more serious criminal act.

Officials at the Kobe District Public Prosecutors Office will look into whether the employee is criminally responsible for the suicide of the employee, in his 20s, in August.

According to several sources, the employee was an engineer assigned to the manufacturing technology center in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, to work on the development of computer systems used in manufacturing control.

The employee committed suicide in late August at a park in Hyogo Prefecture near a company dormitory. He left behind notes at the site that indicated the senior employee had told him to die and that touched upon other problems he had with other workers.

Since 2014, three recent hires at Mitsubishi Electric have either committed suicide or been diagnosed as having a psychiatric disorder due to overwork.

The employee who is being investigated by prosecutors was in charge of training the new employee. The instruction began from around July. One project handled by the senior employee was overseeing a planned explanation of the new employee's college research theme during a company technology presentation in late August.

An internal company investigation found that the senior employee used harsh language in instructing the rookie employee to rewrite the documents to be used in his presentation. A number of other employees who joined Mitsubishi Electric at the same time as the dead employee said they heard him mention being told to die by the senior employee.

From September, officers at the Sanda Police Station in Hyogo Prefecture have questioned the senior employee on a number of occasions as well as several of his colleagues.

In the course of the internal company investigation, the senior employee denied telling the new company employee to die, but admitted he might have said something that had a similar nuance.

Mitsubishi Electric has had a number of employees who have developed various health issues due mainly to overwork.

Between 2014 and 2017, five employees involved in computer system development as well as research were certified as eligible for workers' compensation because their health problems were caused by overwork. Two of those employees committed suicide.

In addition, another new company employee assigned to a department manufacturing communication devices committed suicide in November 2016. His parents sued Mitsubishi Electric in September 2017 for compensation, charging that their son was bullied by his superior and other senior employees at the workplace.

In December 2017, an employee at a subsidiary also committed suicide and his case was certified as qualifying for workers' compensation in October 2019.

The latest case being investigated by prosecutors shows that Mitsubishi Electric has apparently not taken the necessary steps to prevent power harassment in the workplace.