Japan’s latest victim to dying from overworking is Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old who worked for the Japanese ad agency Dentsu. He reportedly died after working 105 hours of overtime in one month.

Karoshi

The Japanese word for “death from overwork” is “karoshi”. The latest karoshi victim was Matsuri Takahashi, who apparently “maintained appearances” at work, but revealed the truth on twitter: “It’s 4 a.m. My body’s trembling. I’m going to die. I’m so tired.”

Japan’s endeavor to change the work-culture in the country has long preceded the announcement of her death.

Japan generally suffers from a culture of being severely overworked, which Japan has desperately been trying to change over the past several years.

Reform

Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a “work style reform” panel in order to discuss strategies to make “taking time off” more appealing to the public.

There have been mixed results from these governmental attempts. However, private companies have been enforcing rules in order to lead this change.

Dentsu now enforces its employees to take at least five days off every six months. Lights in the building shut off at 10pm in order to force its workers to go home.

Other companies, such as Itochu Corp, have changed their allowable “overtime hours” to the morning time. Overtime at Itochu Corp starts at 5 a.m.

According to a report in October, a study that examined karoshi cases has found that the causes of death are usually related to overtime work.

More than 20% of 10,000 people in a survey said they worked over 80 hours of overtime per month.

More than 20% work an average of 49 hours or more per week, in comparison to 16.4% in the US. Half of the participants of the study said they usually do not take paid vacations.