1 in 5 Japan employers face workers’ ‘death from overwork’ – report

Agence France-Presse
1 in 5 Japan employers face workers’ ‘death from overwork’ – report
Hundreds of deaths related to overwork or 'karoshi' are reported every year in Japan, sparking lawsuits and calls to tackle the problem

TOKYO, Japan (UPDATED) – More than one in 5 Japanese companies have employees who work such long hours they are at serious risk of death, according to a new government survey into the country’s notoriously strenuous working culture.

Hundreds of deaths related to overwork – from strokes, heart attacks and suicide – are reported every year in Japan, along with a host of serious health problems, sparking lawsuits and calls to tackle the problem.

The survey was part of the nation’s first white paper on “karoshi”, or death from overwork, endorsed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet on Friday, October 7.

While the popular image of Japanese salarymen toiling long hours for the company before taking the last train home is changing, many still spend far more hours at the workplace than counterparts in other modern economies.

According to the paper, 22.7% of companies polled between December 2015 and January 2016 said some of their employees logged more than 80 hours of overtime a month – the official threshold at which the prospect of death from work becomes serious.

The report added that approximately 21.3% of Japanese employees work 49 or more hours each week on average, well above the 16.4% reported in the US, 12.5% in Britain and 10.4% in France.

The survey concluded that Japanese employees also reported feeling high levels of stress related to their work, pushing officials to call on companies to improve working conditions. – Rappler.com

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story from Agence France-Presse stated “one in 5 employees” face Karoshi. It is actually “one in 5 employers.” It has since been corrected.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.