(Truth Theory) Japan are known as one of the world’s most overworked nations. The recent death of a 31-year-old Japanese journalist has forced authorities to address large number of deaths linked to labour practices. Miwa Sado, worked as a journalist at NHK, a public broadcasting company with headquarters in Tokyo.

Sado had logged 159 hours of overtime and only took two days off in the month leading up to her death from heart failure in 2013. Her death was only made public in the first week of October 2017. The announcement has sparked a national debate over Japan’s attitude to work-life balance.

 Many Japanese companies have a work culture that forces employees to invest long hours. Though there is little evidence to suggest that working long hours improves productivity, the hours are meant to demonstrate dedication. Employees are acutely aware that in order to move up within the company, the bosses must see them actively working at all times.
Due to the fact that performance is often measured in numbers of hours worked, employees feel pressure to log many hours of overtime which tends to pose a serious risk to their health.

In the first white paper on karoshi (death from overwork) the Government reported some alarming statistics. They said that one in five employees were at risk of death from overwork.

They also stated that more than 2,000 Japanese had killed themselves due to work-related stress in the year to March 2016. The white paper also reported that one in four firms in Japan had employees that logged more than 80 hours of overtime each month.

In order to improve work-life balance in Japan, the nation needs to reevaluate what it means to be a “good worker.” The Government have set a goal of lowering the percentage of employees working more than 60 hours a week to 5 percent.

They also plan to cap monthly overtime at 100 hours and will introduce penalties for companies that allow their employees to exceed the limit.