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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Overtime Work and Karoshi in Japan


Japan's workforce is well-known for its punctuality, seriousness, and the long hours it logs.

According to a 2016 White Paper on Karoshi - death from overwork - "Nearly 1 in 4 companies have admitted that some employees do more than 80 hours of overwork per month, according to the nation’s first white paper released Friday on karoshi..."

Overtime Work and Karoshi in Japan.

Much of this is "sabisu zangyo" (unpaid overtime).

The government has in the past made half-hearted efforts at curbing the excesses of corporate Japan's treatment of its workers.

Then, in December of 2015, a young, beautiful Tokyo University graduate took her life after working inhumane hours at Dentsu, the nation's leading advertising firm. (Cynics say that Dentsu serves as a de facto government propaganda department, preventing programming critical of the Liberal Democratic Party from being aired.)

Matsuri Takahashi worked more than 100 hours of overtime in the two months before she jumped to her death. As a result of the 24-year-old's death and resulting media coverage, the government is once again pledging to do something.

Prime Minister Abe recently announced that a bill would be submitted to the Diet that caps overtime at 60 hours a month, though with an allowance for 100 hours in "busy times" as long as the monthly average does not exceed 60 hours in a year (720 hours/year).

60 hours.

Do the math: if Employee X works 5 days a week, 20 days a month, 60 hours would equal three hours a day.

Three hours a day.

If exhausted, overworked X-san was scheduled to work 9 am - 5 pm, that would mean his employer could legally have him work until 8 pm every working day.

Every working day of the year.

If he is fortunate to work for a reputable company, they will compensate him for that.

And people wonder why Japan's birthrate is so low.

 © JapanVisitor.com

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