Japanese Company Confirms Employee Died of Overwork After 159 Overtime Hours

A Japanese woman who was found dead in her bed in 2013, reportedly holding her smartphone, after excessively working now has citizens concerned about Japan’s grueling work ethic.

Most workplaces in Japan embrace work so much that employees often succumb to what the country refers to as karoshi, or “overwork death.”

The karoshi practice urges workers to show their dedication for their job so much that they literally die for it, which is exactly what happened to NHK employee Miwa Sado.

Photo via Twitter / @alekx_04

The 31-year-old journalist’s death was ruled by labor inspectors as a prime example of karoshi as she clocked in a whopping 159 hours of overtime with only two days off in one month, leading to heart failure in July 2013. However, her case was only publicized by her employer this week, according to The Guardian.

The persisting issue in Japan was made even worse after 24-year-old Dentsu employee Matsuri Takahashi committed suicide in April, just two years after Sado’s case.

Takahashi was mentally exhausted after working over 100 hours overtime, leaving messages such as “I want to die”, before she jumped to her death from a company dorm.

That was not the first time such an incident has occurred at advertising company Dentsu. Another employee took his life due to work-related stress back in 1991, according to Japan Times.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the situation by placing a legal limit on overtime hours to only 100 per month. Despite that limit, there are still about 44.4% of employees from the communications industry who admitted to working more than the recommended overtime hours.

Studies revealed that employees can only endure a work threshold of 80 hours before having serious risks of dying from karoshi.

Although those with monotonous jobs aren’t the only ones at risk; even anime artists have the tendency of succumbing to their work.

Featured Image via Twitter / New Straits Times

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