Monk sues temple at Mt Koya world heritage site over heavy workload
Japan Today -- May 17
A monk working for a temple at the World Heritage Site of Mt Koya in western Japan has filed a damages suit, claiming he developed depression and was forced to take a leave of absence because of his heavy workload, a lawyer representing him said Wednesday.

The plaintiff filed the suit on April 27 with the Wakayama District Court, seeking some 8.6 million yen in damages and unpaid wages.

The monk, who started working for one of the temples at Mt Koya in 2008, developed depression around December 2015 and has been absent from work since March 2016, the complaint says.

A local labor standards supervision office has already recognized his overwork, confirming he once worked for at least a month without a day off.

According to the complaint, he made preparations from before 5 a.m. for guests at the temple's shukubo, a lodging built for monks and worshippers, to take part in morning prayers. He sometimes worked late into the night attending to guests and fulfilling other duties at the temple.

The surge in guests in 2015, the year marking the 1,200 years since the founding of the head temple at Mt Koya, forced him to work 64 consecutive days between March and May, and 32 straight days between September and October.

The lawyer said working at temples tends to be regarded as training, and he wants to shed light on the working environment where monks could be forced into overwork.

News source: Japan Today
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