Japanese woman dies after working 159 hours overtime

Japanese woman dies after working 159 hours overtime

Japanese woman dies after working 159 hours overtime

A 31-year-old television reporter for Japan's state broadcaster died after working 159 hours of overtime, another victim of the country's deadly culture of overwork.

A local labour standards office had concluded that her death was attributed to "karoshi", or death from overwork, in May 2014 but it took NHK more than three years to make the case public, Kyodo News reported yesterday.

The ruling, which was only made public this week, is likely to pile more pressure on Japanese authorities to take a proper look at the long hours expected by many workers in the country, which has a big impact on work/life balance.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration has been seeking to improve working conditions in the country following the suicide of a new recruit at Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc.in 2015 due to excessive working hours. If you don't quit you have to work 100 hours.

Matsuri Takahashi killed herself in April 2015.

"I want to die", she wrote. Another message read: "I'm physically and mentally shattered".

NHK said it kept track of Sado's hours through personal statements and time cards - but has admitted there was room for improvement.

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"(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.

Although they did not immediately publicize their daughter's death, they said that Ms. Takahashi's case had spurred them to publicly discuss it. The extreme schedule resulted in her suicide, they ruled.

"Even today, four years on, we can not accept our daughter's death as a reality", Sado's parents said in a statement released through NHK. "We hope that the sorrow of a bereaved family will not be wasted".

In a 2016 government report on karoshi, almost a quarter of companies surveyed said that some employees were working more than 80 hours of overtime a month.

According to a recent government study, one in five Japanese workers is in danger of literally working themselves to death.

The country has some of the longest working hours in the world, with nearly a quarter of companies expecting employees to work more than 80 hours' overtime a month, often unpaid, according to the BBC.

In February it launched a campaign urging employees to leave early at 3pm on the last Friday of every month, and in May it named and shamed more than 300 companies that had breached labour laws.

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