Health status of precarious workers in "Toshikoshi Haken Mura (Dispatch Workers' New Year Village)"

Shinobu Tsurugano, Mariko Inoue, Naoki Nakatsubo, Hiroshi Oi, Eiji Yano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Japan, the liquidity of employment is progressing rapidly. Due to the global recession which started in 2008, large-scale unemployment of precarious workers, including dispatch workers, is expected in 2009. In recent studies, it has been suggested that the unstable employment status itself may affect the health conditions of such workers. At the end of 2008, "Toshikoshi Haken Mura" (Dispatch Workers' New Year Village) was established in central Tokyo as a shelter for about 500 workers who had lost their jobs and accommodation. We participated in health consultations and medical checkups conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on January 8-10, 2009 to investigate the health conditions of the "villagers". Eighty-nine people attended health consultations and medical checkups (mean age, 48 yr). Physical complaints in the order of prevalence were as follows: respiratory (cough, 43%; sputum, 36%), low-grade fever (16.9%), musculoskeletal (13.5%), dermal (5.6%), digestive (3.4%), neurological (3.4%) and others including mental complaint (10.1%) such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. During individual consultations, we found many cases who had had difficulty in getting medical consultations and whose treatment had been discontinued. Moreover, the rate of getting periodic medical examination remained low at 23.8% (among 84 people). Health problems of precarious workers have not been sufficiently recognized; however, there were cases whose poor health was indeed related to unstable employment. Studies on the health effects of temporary work should have higher prioritizes in the occupational health field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-18
Number of pages4
JournalSangyō eiseigaku zasshi = Journal of occupational health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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