Japan’s media house, NHK, has officially revealed that a female journalist died from overwork in 2013.
Miwa Sado, a journalist working with a broadcaster’s centre in Tokyo, died of cognitive heart failure due to ‘karoshi‘ which translates into death from overwork. Sado was reported to have worked 159 hours of overtime with only two days-off in the month prior to her death.
Sado had been covering two busy elections at the time – one national and one regional – and had in fact emailed her father saying that she thought of quitting her job at least once in a day but needed to hang on. Masahiko Yamauchi, senior official at NHK’s News Department, said:
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“The incident was not a personal matter but a problem for our organization as a whole, including the labor system and how elections are covered.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has been working hard to cap the overtime hours to 100 which, according to experts, is still an excess. In 2015, a new recruit died of stress and overwork in a Tokyo-based advertising firm which brought this matter to national attention.
In Japan, an average working day lasts anywhere from eight to nine hours. In October 2016, the government had published a survey concluding that more than one in five companies had employees who worked overtime more than 80 hours a month. It also revealed that 2,159 people committed suicide in 2015 due to work issues.
In Japan, it is a common practice to work long hours as many employers promote people who have worked efficiently.