Characteristics of Workplace Health Promotion in Japan

  • Takashi Muto


Workplace health promotion (WHP) in Japan has a relatively long history of over 30 years as the Silver Health Plan and the Total Health Promotion Plan, which intend to promote workers’ physical and mental health. Recently, karoshi (death brought on by overwork or job-related exhaustion) and karo-jisatsu (work-related suicide) brought on by long working hours have necessitated the implementation of WHP. Japan is unique in that WHP is stipulated in the Industrial Safety and Health Law as employer’s obligations, and several concrete guidelines have been issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Financial assistance for enterprises implementing WHP is also a characteristic of Japanese WHP. WHP in Japan has emphasized intervention in personal lifestyles. Six types of specialists in charge of WHP have been developed. Despite numerous WHP programs being conducted in Japan, few evaluations of WHP programs have been reported in professional journals. WHP should be conducted under the guidance of occupational safety and health management systems. Those in charge of WHP should ask workers the meaning of work and life before starting intervention in their personal lifestyles. Mechanisms to support the development of appropriate WHP models and methods to increase health and well-being in small-scale enterprises should be established. WHP should be considered as an important element of corporate responsibility.


Corporate Social Responsibility Sickness Absence Corporate Responsibility Occupational Physician Mental Health Promotion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthDokkyo Medical University School of MedicineMibuJapan

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