Japanese media worker died from overwork, a hallmark of the country's culture

Miwa Sado an NHK reporter who joined the public broadcaster in 2005

Miwa Sado an NHK reporter who joined the public broadcaster in 2005

The death of a 31-year-old NHK female reporter in 2013 was determined by labor standards inspectors the following year as caused by overwork, the public broadcaster said Wednesday, providing further evidence of the severe working conditions many Japanese employees endure.

Masahiko Yamauchi, a senior official at the broadcaster, said Ms Sado's death was a "problem for our organisation as a whole, including the labour system and how elections are covered". Due to this, activists in Japan have continually called for new labor laws better regulating working hours in the hopes of ending deaths like Sado's.

Posted by "Stan", a white-collar worker in Japan's financial services sector, the video depicts a typical week during the "busy season" for a worker in that sector, which typically includes 13-hour workdays, six days a week, for three or more months straight.

Officials ruled that her death was a result from stress induced by long work hours.

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"Even today, four years after, we can not accept our daughter's death as a reality", Ms Sado's parents said in a comment released by NHK.

A 2014 sleep study's poll found that Japan's workforce sleeps less than any other country.

Although overtime is a circumstantial favour in the United Kingdom, it's much different in Japan as employees are expected to put in hours of work outside their designated shift patterns.

"I want to die as I am destroyed physically and mentally", Takahashi had penned on social media before her death. Her death was attributed to karoshi, a Japanese term for "death from overwork".

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On why it had taken more than three years to make the case public, Yamauchi said the broadcaster took into account the wishes of her family, who said they wanted to ensure such an incident never happens again.

In 2016, more than 2000 people had killed themselves due to work-related stress, revealed a data of the government, while others died from heart attack and strokes. That's an average of about 5.9 hours of overtime a day, including weekends.

The Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe, has been forced to address the work culture.

In February, the Japanese government and the Keidanren, Japan's largest business group, introduced an effort dubbed "Premium Friday" that encouraged companies to allow workers to leave the office at 3 p.m. on the last Friday of the month.

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