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Why Hongkongers are lucky to work 50 hours a week

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Hongkongers you should you be grateful for only having to work 50 hours a week.  Although you are no where near to be in good health, your are still alive.

A Tokyo-based Dentsu employee has resorted to suicide as a result of being forced to log up punishing overtime, according to the findings by the Mita Labor Standard Inspection Office in Tokyo.

The 24-years-old Japanese woman Matsuri Takahashi worked for the advertising agency’s digital account division, which was in charge of online advertising and was recently discovered to have been engaged in deliberate over-billing of its clients.

She joined the agency in April 2015 and committed suicide on Christmas Day that same year, following a drastic increase of workload starting from October, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported.

Takahashi was found to have logged around 105 hours of monthly overtime. The report concluded she suffered a mental breakdown due to the psychological burden of so much overtime work and committed suicide.

The labor office ruled her suicide as “death by overwork” on September 30th.

“We view our employee’s suicide very seriously,” said a Dentsu representative who refrained from making further comment, “as we have yet to grasp the contents (of the inspection office’s judgment).”

Report of Takahashi’s death came after a young male employee of Tokyo-based Dentsu committed suicide in 1991 due to long work hours. After the Supreme Court ruling in 2000, Dentsu said it would strictly monitor the working hours of employees.

Sadly, this phenomenon is far from exclusive to Japan. Across Asia, people are committing suicide to strenuous workloads.

Reports say that in China, the death toll due to overworking reaches 1,600 employees every day.

A number of high-profile cases have been seen in Hong Kong as well, such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s communications chief, Wilfred Lai Ming Fai, who fell to his death in 2013. In his suicide note, he said that he had no life but work and hoped his suicide would lead to more awareness of the importance of work-life balance.

In Japan, legislation went into effect in November 2014 that requires the national government to carry out measures to prevent suicides and deaths form overwork.

But working to death remains a serious problem.  Government statistics also show that legal cases filed over karoshi soared to 1,456 in 12-month period that ended in March 2015. In comparison, a total of 1,576 cases were filed between 2004 and 2008.

The story was first reported in Marketing Interactive.

ALSO READ: What is driving employees to go suicidal?


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