Will they successfully curb Karoshi?

Karoshi is a Japanese term that means death by overwork.

This is the kanji for karoshi 過労死. If we take a look at each kanji separately, 過 (ka) to overdo, exceed; 労 (rou) labor; 死 (shi) death or die.

“According to the annual report (2016) released last week, 23 percent of 1,743 companies surveyed said they have employees who have worked more than 80 hours of overtime a month — a criteria beyond which a worker’s death can be linked to overwork — including 12 percent that replied that some of their employees clocked more than 100 hours of overtime in a single month. The ratio shoots up to 44 percent among companies in the information and communications business, 40 percent in the research and technology service sectors and 38 percent in trucking and postal businesses.” The Japan Times, The government’s ‘karoshi’ report, October 2016 (click on the link to view the full report)

The government took action. And the article below is their response to this karoshi situation.

A purely voluntary scheme to let staff leave early on one Friday a month. Good luck with that

via Japan’s Latest Scheme to Reduce Working Hours Is Essentially Meaningless — Fortune

What do you think of the measures they have taken to address the issue? Is it enough to stop karoshi? Let me know in the comments section below.

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17 thoughts on “Will they successfully curb Karoshi?

  1. Well first, the idea that Japanese are lacking in morality is false, blatantly wrong, and a foolish thing to say.

    Having said that during my trips to Japan I have noticed…how could I not…the large number of middle-aged men and women sleeping on trains going and coming from work. I have to agree that overwork is a pressing issue. But it’s not across the board. The Japanese have a tremendous work ethic, and I believe corporate Japan exploits that characteristic, so anything done to relieve that situation is good. Of course more can be done–always.

    My wife is Japanese and her older brother runs the family business in Japan. He treats his workers with great humanity…they get plenty of time off. But I think this article is about corporate Japan which is…like corporate America…a tough place. I might add by the way that Japan like many other countries give women and men childbirth leave time. It’s quite extensive. The US gives zero time. While that fact doesn’t cause suicides, I think it does raise serious issues regarding our attitude towards children and family.

    Japan has many issues…what country doesn’t? But it’s still my favorite place in the.world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment!
      Indeed, the Japanese has a very strong work ethic. They are true hardworkers and they have to keep at it so as not to deviate from the average salaryman ー for fear of becoming the nail that sticks out, which is not really all that acceptable… in Japan. It’s just amazing, and sad at the same time, to see them throw their entirety at work.
      And I would agree. Japan is a great place to visit. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t see this getting resolved any time soon. For a start this isn’t a new problem it’s been a known issue for decades. The recent attention isn’t new and has happened after past incidents as well. Then a short time later everyone just ignores it again.
    I also don’t see it being resolved by time as most young workers seem to feel even more pressure to live up to standards set by older generations. Also younger generations are smaller and in less dominant positions in society.
    The annoying thing about this is I know lots of people working these long hours who actually aren’t getting much done at work. They feel they need to stay long hours so find ways to expand the work to fit. Companies don’t invest in labour and time saving technologies because they see no need.
    I have a student who works for a car company. When they are creating a new product as part of a two year project they have two hour daily progress meetings.
    What the hell is the point in that?
    “What progress have we made today everyone?”
    Basically the same as yesterday. On a two year project how much do you expect to have changed in one day?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think that if you give them the option to voluntarily leave one Friday a month, that they will. They work overtime for a reason, and they are not going to stop unless they are almost forced too. Hopefully, they start to see that their health is more important than working all these extra hours. I really hope that this will be taken care of soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. People should work because they have to live .Not live because they have to work .It’s more or less becoming similar all over the world. It’s a global issue.I wish government could do something about it that too very soon.


  5. that’s crazy hours! they should take a leaf out of the Nordic countries books, where the value of life is far greater than work. More play, less work time there and things still get done with happier people – so win win all round!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, it would be lovely, but it will probably take a long time before that happens. Although I’m not saying it’s impossible. It’s just that most of the huge companies are run by gramps (no insult intended) and it’s kinda hard to change things around… if you know what I’m saying. I think the smaller, younger companies have a better chance at moving forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes definitely a generational “issue”
        Let’s hope the future generations live and let live whilst working hard at the required (reduced) work times 👍


      • Yes I heard about the story and the mother of the young woman becoming an activist on this issue. Thank goodness. As a former interpreter I remember feeling I could not leave before my bosses– and I had many. I worked 60 hours or more per week and never took my lunch or breaks. In fact, I cleaned the factory during each so that I could be an example. It was a wonderful ethic but terrible balance.

        Liked by 2 people

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