Death from overwork on the rise among Japanese youth and women as non-regular contracts increase
- Karoshi, or death by overwork, is a long-recognized phenomenon in Japanese society often associated with white-collar men, but labor and demographic changes have contributed to its expansion to youth and women.
- For a death to qualify as karoshi, claimants—usually family members—must prove the victim died from work-related cardiovascular illness or suicide from overwork (including demonstration of significant overtime work).
- Karoshi claims hit a record high of 1,456 in 2015, with labor analysts pointing to the rise of non-regular work in Japan (including temporary and temp-to-perm contracting) as a significant contributor to their growth.
“Death by overwork on rise among Japan’s vulnerable workers” (Reuters)
“Abe administration looks to reduce limits on overtime work” (The Japan Times)
“Karoshi: Stroke, heart attacks and suicide attributed to overwork killing hundreds of Japanese employees” (ABC, June 2015)
(Image Credit: AP, via The Japan Times)