Japan names and shames companies putting employees at risk of death by overwork

Earlier this year a government survey revealed that a fifth of Japan’s workers are at risk of killing themselves by putting in too many hours

Josie Cox
Business Editor
Friday 12 May 2017 10:01
Comments
In February, Japan’s government launched a campaign urging employees to leave the office at 3pm – so much earlier than usual - on every last Friday of the month
In February, Japan’s government launched a campaign urging employees to leave the office at 3pm – so much earlier than usual - on every last Friday of the month

Japan’s government has released a list of more than 300 companies that have breached labour laws, in a move designed to crack down on firms that are putting employees at risk of literally working themselves to death.

Numerous cases of people dying as a result of being overworked, known in Japan as ‘karoshi’, has marred the nation’s reputation and earlier this year a government survey revealed that a fifth of Japan’s workforce is at risk of killing themselves by putting in too many hours.

In 2015, a high-profile case of an advertising agency employee taking her own life after working 100 extra hours a month, prompted international outcry. The government now hopes that a name-and-shame approach will help eliminate the practice of extreme workaholism.

The list published this week on the country’s labour ministry’s website includes major firms like advertising agency Dentsu, where the 2015 death occurred, electronics maker Panasonic, as well as a local unit of Japan Post, according to Reuters.

All the 334 companies on the list received warnings for excessive overtime and other labour violations between October last year and March this year. But the labour ministry also said that not all companies that were being investigated had been made public.

It said that it only publicises company names if it deems that doing so would encourage stricter compliance and be for the greater good of the Japanese public.

The current list is due to be updated monthly.

In February, Japan’s government launched a campaign urging employees to leave the office at 3pm – so much earlier than usual - on every last Friday of the month.

As well as helping to eliminate 'karoshi', the government said it hoped the move would also provide extra stimulus to the economy.

Japan’s labour force and its population are shrinking and the country said that it wanted to reduce working hours to encourage women – even those who have caring duties – to work, while getting men more involved in raising children.

Increased leisure time should also mean more time between the sheets to boost the birth rate, Reuters at the time reported.

Additional reporting by news wires

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in