Working themselves to death: Japanese government steps in

Incidents in some top companies has brought this issue to limelight prompting governmental action

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The issue of overwork that has gripped Japanese society is so grave that one-fifth of its workforce at risk of death.

They work more than 80 hours of overtime each month, According to a government survey, these employees work more than 80 hours overtime every week, reports The Independent.

Some recent incidents in some top companies has brought this issue to the limelight prompting the government to step in with measures to limit the amount of overtime employees can do.

The call for a shift in work habits comes in the wake of these incidents which have shaken the public, the business world as well as the government authorities.

One such tragic incident was the death of 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi, an employee at advertising giant Dentsu, who was working 100 extra hours a month before she took her own life.

Dentsu’s president Tadashi Ishii stepped down at the end of last year taking full responsibility, after the government ruled that Takahashi had died from overwork in December 2015.

Similarly, the labour ministry had referred Mitsubishi to prosecutors after the company was suspected of forcing a 31-year-old male employee to do excessive overtime.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stepped in and was seeking to impose a cap on the number of overtime hours people can work, and in February a government scheme called ‘Premium Friday’ is set to be launched.

This at least will allow workers to leave the office early on the last Friday of every month.

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