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Thursday, January 19, 2017, 13:00 - 14:00


Putting a Stop to Karoshi: Death From Overwork

Language: The speech and Q&A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.


Matsuri Takahashi was just 24 when she killed herself in December 2015. She had joined Dentsu, Japan's largest advertising firm the previous April, straight from university. Takahashi was soon putting in monthly overtime of over 100 hours. Before she died, she was getting just two hours sleep a night. On Christmas Day, she jumped from the roof of her company dorm.

Takahashi's suicide has again thrown the spotlight on a problem that has dogged Japan for decades: overwork. A government survey last year found that over one in four Japanese companies admitted that some workers clock in for 80 hours overtime a month. Over 1 million Japanese employees regularly put in at least100 hours monthly overtime.

Under new legislation, employers are supposed to monitor the 80-hour threshold, which is considered the point at which death from overwork – known as "karoshi" - becomes more likely. In practice, however, overtime is often poorly documented or deliberately hidden, especially at media and service companies, the most sought-after employers by ambitious young graduates.

Campaigners fear that as Japan's labor crunch deepens in the coming years, employers will lean even more heavily on young workers like Takahashi. They are demanding major changes in work styles to allow employees more time to raise children and care for their elderly parents. Four of the best-known campaigners will come to the FCCJ to give their views on what should be done.

Yoshie Komuro is president of Work-Life Balance, a company that has provided consultation services to hundreds of Japanese firms to help them raise labor efficiency by cutting working hours. Tetsuya Ando set up the NPO Fathering Japan to help more Japanese fathers spend more time with their families. Soichiro Nishimura is a board member of Fathering Japan.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.                  

Professional Activities Committee

Jan 19 17 PC Yoshie Komuro Tetsuya Ando  Soichiro Nishimura036Jan 19 17 PC Yoshie Komuro Tetsuya Ando  Soichiro Nishimura082Jan 19 17 PC Yoshie Komuro Tetsuya Ando  Soichiro Nishimura027

Yoshie Komuro                    Tetsuya Ando                    Soichiro Nishimura


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