Japan’s largest broadcasting organization NHK has revealed that one of its reporters has died 4 years ago due to overwork.NHK reporter Miwa Sado, aged 31, who had been covering political news in Tokyo, was found dead in her bed in July 2013 holding her mobile phone tightly. A local labor standards office concluded that the young reporter died from heart failure caused by spending long hours on the job. According to a story published by NHK, the reporter had worked 159 hours of overtime in the month preceding her death. She had taken only two days off in the month.

Bowing to the pressure from Sado’s parents NHK made the case public four years after the incident and the chairman also met the parents and apologized for the same.According to  report by Asahi, NHK has said it delayed the announcement of Sado’s death because her parents indicated they didn’t want it made public.The company has also promised to reform its working practices related to overtime and work conditions.

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An AFP report stated that Sado had covered Tokyo assembly elections for the broadcaster in June 2013 and an upper-house vote for the national parliament the following month.She died three days after the upper-house election.

My heart breaks at the thought that she may have wanted to call me in her last moments. With Miwa gone, I feel like half of my body has been torn off. I won’t be able to laugh for real for the rest of my life” Her mother said to the media.

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Karoshi: Death due to overtime

Japan is notorious for deaths caused due to overwork. There is even a term for death due to overwork in Japan called Karoshi.Every year Japan registers dozen of deaths due to heart failure, suicides and heart attacks caused by excessive working.According to a media report, a government report on death from overwork released last Friday revealed that there were 191 “karoshi” cases in the year ending March 2017.

In a step towards tackling the problem of overwork, the government in May released its first nationwide employer blacklist, naming-and-shaming more than 300 companies including advertising giant Dentsu Inc for breaching labor laws.

In February, Japan launched “Premium Friday”, calling on employees to knock off early on the last Friday of the month.

Even the condition of India is not very good in this regard, according to a report,

  1. An average Indian employee works around 2200 hours every year, more than those in most of the other countries.
  2. Indian millennials reportedly spend 52 hours a week at work, the highest in the world with the average for US being 45 and for UK 41.

Employers need to understand the value of human life and respect quality work rather than forcing the employees to work overtime.

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