Japan has once more been forced to confront its work culture when labour inspectors ruled that the death of a 31-year-old journalist at the country’s public broadcaster, NHK, had been caused by overwork. Miwa Sado, who worked at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Tokyo, logged 159 hours of overtime and took only 2 days off within the month leading up to her death from heart failure in July 2013.
Sado’s death is predicted to increase pressure on Japanese authorities to handle the big quantity of deaths attributed to the punishingly long hours expected of many workers. Matsuri Takahashi was twenty four when she killed herself in April 2015. Labour standards officers ruled that her death had been caused by stress brought on by long working hours. Takahashi had been working quite a one hundred hours’ overtime within the months before her death.
In its initial study on karoshi last year, the government mentioned one in five workers were in danger of death from overwork. More than 2,000 Japanese killed themselves because of work-related stress within the year to March 2016, according to the government, whereas dozens of different victims died from heart attacks, strokes and different conditions brought on by spending an excessive amount of time at work.
Research shows that Japanese workers work considerably longer hours than their counterparts in the United States, United Kingdom and different developed countries. Japan’s workers used, on average, only 8.8 days of their annual leave in 2015, less than half of their allowance, according to the health ministry. That compares with 100% in city and 78 in Singapore.