1 in 5 Ja­pan em­ploy­ees face death from over­work­ing

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -


A fifth of the Ja­panese work­force faces the risk of death from over­work, 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. While the pop­u­lar im­age of Ja­panese salary men toil­ing long hours for the com­pany be­fore tak­ing the last train home is chang­ing, many still spend far more hours in the of­fice than coun­ter­parts in other mod­ern economies.

Ac­cord­ing to the pa­per, 22.7 per­cent of com­pa­nies polled be­tween De­cem­ber 2015 and Jan­uary 2016 said some of their em­ploy­ees logged more than 80 hours of over­time each month-the of­fi­cial thresh­old at which the prospect of death from work be­comes se­ri­ous. The re­port added that ap­prox­i­mately 21.3 per­cent of Ja­panese em­ploy­ees work 49 or more hours each week on av­er­age, well above the 16.4 per­cent re­ported in the US, 12.5 per­cent 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. —AFP

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