World

Japanese woman dies due to working 159 hours overtime

Japanese woman dies due to working 159 hours overtime

Issues with Japan's work culture have been apparent for some time now, and statistics reveal that one-fifth of Japanese workers are at risk of karoshi, the Japanese term that means death by overwork.

The 31-year-old's death was attributed to karoshi - meaning a death from overwork - and highlighting the country's ongoing issues with Japan's work culture.

According to Japanese law, the typical employee can only work 40 hours a week, or no more than eight hours a day, with up to an hour's break.

Japanese regulators found that she had been forced to work excessively long hours at an advertising agency, clocking about 105 hours of overtime in the month leading up to her death. This was the conclusion of a local labour standards office in 2014. A government study published past year found that one in five workers is at risk of working themselves to death. There are many medical causes due to which a "karoshi death" happens like heart attacks, strokes, and starvation. Her mother said that 'companies put business performance before the welfare of their employees.'

Sado, a political reporter, covered the Tokyo metropolitan assembly elections and national upper house elections in June and July 2013.

Although overtime is a circumstantial favour in the United Kingdom, it's much different in Japan as employees are expected to put in hours of work outside their designated shift patterns.




The Abe government planned to scrap the 100 hours overtime and punish those companies that allow employees to exceed the limit, reported The Guardian.

Research shows that Japanese employees work significantly longer hours than their counterparts in the US, Britain and other developed countries.

Sado's employer said that it did not release her cause of death out of respect to her family.

In a comment released by NHK, her parents said: "Even today, four years after, we can not accept our daughter's death as a reality".

"(Sado's death reflects a) problem for our organization as a whole, including the labor system and how elections are covered", a senior official from NHK, Masahiko Yamauchi, told the Guardian. "We hope that the sorrow of a bereaved family will not be wasted".


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