A Japanese journalist died from exhaustion. For months she had worked 159 hours more than necessary

A Japanese journalist died from exhaustion. For months she had worked 159 hours more than necessary

Japanese public television has recognized that the death of one of the employees of the company was due to numerous adaptations and wrong organization of work.

A young journalist covering elections, he worked 159 hours of overtime and died three days after the voting day from heart failure. Her case may increase pressure on the Japanese government, which seeks to forbid the citizens to stay at work late.

31-year-old journalist Miwa Sado died in 2013. In June and July of that year she was covering elections in the Metropolitan Assembly Tokyo and the House of Councillors and three days after the vote, died of congestive heart failure. After an investigation lasting almost a year, the inspectors of labour came to the conclusion that the journalist died from serious overtime. In the month preceding the death, she worked 159 hours of overtime, and rested two days. This means that in that month it was 28 working days of 12 hours each.

The employer Sado, Japanese public broadcaster NHK, has published the results of the investigation only now. As explained in NHK, the three-year delay due respect to the feelings of the relatives, who asked not to betray the case publicly. The company said that did not consider the incident a special case, by contrast, see it as a “problem of the entire organization, including working conditions and how elections are covered”.

Death from the processing (“karoshi”) is a serious problem for Japanese society, where it is accepted to demonstrate their diligence and discipline, sitting up at work late. Every year the country registered hundreds of deaths related to excessive workload and stress: people die from strokes and heart attacks or commit suicide. In 2015, the year it was registered more than 2 thousand suicides related to overtime. In October 2016, the Japanese authorities reported that one in five workers is at risk (i.e., processed at 80 hours per month or more) and you can die from overtime.