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Friday, October 21, 2016

Karoshi: Death by overwork

New York City 'Sweatshop' circa 1890    (Public Domain)
As Japan’s economy sank, Japanese workers began drowning in its wake.

Putting in 100 hours of overtime per month became devastatingly common.  At so-called “better” companies, 80 hours per month was the new normal.  These totals are actually thought to be on the low side because many companies did not respond to research inquiries.

Such overwork has resulted in death for some employees.  Called karoshi, this tragic outcome is becoming more and more common.  Last year, Japan’s health ministry “identified 93 suicides and attempted suicides as being caused by overwork.”  Karoshi-related lawsuits “soared to 1,456 in a 12-month period that ended in March 2015.”

Companies often force employees to put in long and “frequently unpaid” extra hours.  Although governmental regulations against these abuses exist, there is a “lack of penalties for companies that fail to comply.”


Copyright October 21, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved


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