Japanese woman who logged 159 hours of overtime in one month ‘dies from overwork’

Japanese worker Miwo Sado died after logging 159 hours in overtime in one month (Rex/stock photo)

A woman in Japan has reportedly died from overworking after she logged a staggering 159 hours of overtime in a single month.

Miwa Sado took just two days off from her job at the country’s public broadcaster, NHK, in the month leading up to her death from heart failure in July 2013.

The 31-year-old’s death was attributed to karoshi – meaning a death from overwork – and highlighting the country’s ongoing issues with Japan’s work culture.

Sado, a political reporter, died three days after she covered the Tokyo metropolitan assembly elections and national upper house elections.

Masahiko Yamauchi, a senior official in NHK’s news department, said that Sado’s death reflected a “problem for our organisation as a whole, including the labour system and how elections are covered”.

In a statement issued through NHK, Sado’s parents said: “Even today, four years on, we cannot accept our daughter’s death as a reality.

“We hope that the sorrow of a bereaved family will not be wasted.”

The case has brought the focus on Japan’s work culture (Rex)

The case was made public by her former employer this week and once again puts the focus on Japan’s work culture.

In 2015, 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi killed herself over the stress of working long hours.

She was found to have worked more than 100 hours overtime in the months leading up to her suicide.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was forced to act following the case and proposed a monthly overtime cap of 100 hours and penalties for companies that allowed employees to go over that limit.

However, a government paper published last year found that one in five workers in Japan were at risk of death from overwork.

It also found that over 2,000 Japanese people killed themselves as a result of work-related stress in the year up to March 2016, while many others died from heart attacks and strokes as a result of too much time spent at work.

For confidential help if you are feeling depressed or suicidal, the Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day on 116 123. You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org.

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