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Post Reply ‘Karoshi’ cases on rise in Japan
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Posted 4/4/16

Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork, or karoshi, a phenomenon previously associated with the long-suffering “salaryman” that is increasingly afflicting young and female employees.

Labor demand, with 1.28 jobs per applicant, is the highest since 1991, which should help Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe draw more people into the workforce to counter the effect of a shrinking population, but lax enforcement of labor laws means some businesses are simply squeezing more out of employees, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Claims for compensation for karoshi rose to a record high of 1,456 in the 12 months between March 2014 and March last year, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, with cases concentrated in healthcare, social services, shipping and construction, which are all facing chronic worker shortages.

National Defense Counsel for Victims of Karoshi secretary-general Hiroshi Kawahito said the real number was probably 10 times higher, as the government is reluctant to recognize such incidents.

“The government hosts a lot of symposiums and makes posters about the problem, but this is propaganda,” he said. “The real problem is reducing working hours, and the government is not doing enough.”
The ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Kawahito, a lawyer who has been dealing with karoshi since the 1980s, said 95 percent of his cases used to be middle-aged men in white-collar jobs, but now about 20 percent are women.

Japan has no legal limits on working hours, but the ministry recognizes two types of karoshi: death from cardiovascular illness linked to overwork and suicide following work-related mental stress.

A cardiovascular death is likely to be considered karoshi if an employee worked 100 hours of overtime in the month beforehand, or 80 hours of overtime in two or more consecutive months in the previous six.

A suicide could qualify if it follows an individual’s working 160 hours or more of overtime in one month or more than 100 hours of overtime for three consecutive months.

Work-related suicides are up 45 percent in the past four years among those 29 and younger, and up 39 percent among women, ministry data show.

The problem has become more acute as Japan’s workforce has divided into two distinct categories — regular employees and those on temporary or non-standard contracts, frequently women and younger people.

Last year, non-regular employees made up 38 percent of the workforce, up from 20 percent in 1990, and 68 percent of them were women.

Lawyers and academics said unscrupulous employers operate a “bait-and-switch” policy, advertising a full-time position with reasonable working hours, but later offering the successful applicant a non-regular contract with longer hours, sometimes overnight or weekends, with no overtime pay.

Refusing to pay an employee overtime or give them breaks time is illegal, and the applicant could refuse the job, but activists say companies tell them they will be given regular contracts after about six months.
They say young applicants often accept due to lack of experience, while women trying to re-enter the workforce after childbirth often feel it would be difficult to get a foothold elsewhere.

Emiko Teranishi, head of the Families Dealing with Karoshi support group, said she hears lots of complaints about hiring tactics, with some companies telling new employees that their salary includes 80 hours of overtime, and they must reimburse the company if they work less.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2016/04/04/2003643121

Well, shit... And people in America thought they had it bad.
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Posted 4/4/16 , edited 4/4/16
Japan seems like a society that lives to work rather than work to live.
Posted 4/4/16 , edited 4/4/16
I think I work a lot too but when I read about the people in Japan working more than me and making a heck of a lot less makes me feel ashamed to even complain. I hope these companies start treating their own employees better, if that shit happened in the US you sure as hell would have riots. I urge the people in Japan to unite together to improve their working conditions.
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Posted 4/4/16
for being so technologically advanced, their working conditions are outdated like 1900s america lol
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Posted 4/4/16
And yet people who work at McDonald's want a 15$ hourly wage
Posted 4/4/16 , edited 4/4/16
I feel bad for these people.
If only they can fix their system.
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Posted 4/4/16

bethos30 wrote:

I think I work a lot too but when I read about the people in Japan working more than me and making a heck of a lot less makes me feel ashamed to even complain. I hope these companies start treating their own employees better, if that shit happened in the US you sure as hell would have riots. I urge the people in Japan to unite together to improve their working conditions.



The reason so many companies closed their factories in the U.S. and opened them overseas IS exactly for the reason you stated. So, rather than stay in the U.S. and provide reasonable and safe work environments, they chose to close shop here, and opened factories in countries where they COULD GET AWAY WITH THAT KIND OF THING.

This is also why those small and medium sized businesses that can't move overseas, have been hiring illegals IN THE U.S., they know they can get away with it. Our labor laws have protected us from exploitative employers, but then those exploitative employers took the jobs from us and took them overseas. Now they exploit the workers in foreign countries and sell their manufactured goods to us, here in the U.S. at inflated prices...

If Japan made laws to better protect their people from such exploitation, the people would be better off - for awhile. However, over time, they too would see their jobs getting exported off Japanese shores. We can't win....
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Posted 4/4/16

M-chann wrote:

And yet people who work at McDonald's want a 15$ hourly wage


Right now, people who work at McDonald's in Los Angeles cannot afford to live on their own. Either they HAVE to have a second job, or they HAVE to live with someone else - whether they want to or not. That's for someone who is single. Imagine if the individual was married and had kids?

This is why it is not uncommon to see multiple families ILLEGALLY living in a single family home when their employment is way below the cost of living in an area.

The wages MOST jobs in Los Angeles pays, is NOT ENOUGH to live a decent life - even with a second job. You aren't living a decent life if you are working two jobs. You work, then go to work. Then go home too tired to do anything else except sleep. Then it's sleep for much less than eight hours because you have to be ready to go back to work again.... This is how many people live in Los Angeles. Don't begrudge them for wanting $15.00 an hour for working at McDonald's....

Remember, most factory jobs, many skilled labor jobs have gone overseas. What jobs remained in the U.S. has become mostly automated, so only roboticists are hired to work in those factories - and building engineers.... There's not enough jobs for everyone.
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No I understand fully of people's situations. It's just that there are others who have Much worse situations. Being overworked and probably even suffering more. But again, I am not disregarding anyone or their situation!
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Posted 4/4/16
Man this world is a scary place. The rich are busy buying yachts and unnecessary material possessions while the poor are struggling to pay rent. What kind of fucking society are we living in? Income inequality is absolutely unacceptable.

Can someone tell me what's the point of life if 75% of it is spent doing something you hate? I rather be a homeless hitchhiker any day.
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Posted 4/4/16
Overworking is a serious problem in Japan, and in South Korea too I've heard. This is why I could never live in Japan; working an office job there would be horrible
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Posted 4/4/16

DeadlyOats wrote:

The reason so many companies closed their factories in the U.S. and opened them overseas IS exactly for the reason you stated. So, rather than stay in the U.S. and provide reasonable and safe work environments, they chose to close shop here, and opened factories in countries where they COULD GET AWAY WITH THAT KIND OF THING.

This is also why those small and medium sized businesses that can't move overseas, have been hiring illegals IN THE U.S., they know they can get away with it. Our labor laws have protected us from exploitative employers, but then those exploitative employers took the jobs from us and took them overseas. Now they exploit the workers in foreign countries and sell their manufactured goods to us, here in the U.S. at inflated prices...

If Japan made laws to better protect their people from such exploitation, the people would be better off - for awhile. However, over time, they too would see their jobs getting exported off Japanese shores. We can't win....


We can win, but it requires a more complicated, coordinated labour movement than has ever previously existed. Where previously "Workers of the world, unite!" has been a hollow slogan of dictatorships intent on claiming power in the name of this very goal the time has come where we no longer have the luxury of screwing around. Nothing less than international trade unionism at the global scale is necessary in a global economy in my estimation.
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Posted 4/5/16

KurdishSenpai wrote:

Man this world is a scary place. The rich are busy buying yachts and unnecessary material possessions while the poor are struggling to pay rent. What kind of fucking society are we living in? Income inequality is absolutely unacceptable.

Can someone tell me what's the point of life if 75% of it is spent doing something you hate? I rather be a homeless hitchhiker any day.


It's for the other 25% of it

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Posted 4/5/16

nanikore2 wrote:


KurdishSenpai wrote:

Man this world is a scary place. The rich are busy buying yachts and unnecessary material possessions while the poor are struggling to pay rent. What kind of fucking society are we living in? Income inequality is absolutely unacceptable.

Can someone tell me what's the point of life if 75% of it is spent doing something you hate? I rather be a homeless hitchhiker any day.


It's for the other 25% of it



Hahahaha that's not a life worth living. In my opinion
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Posted 4/5/16

KurdishSenpai wrote:

Can someone tell me what's the point of life if 75% of it is spent doing something you hate? I rather be a homeless hitchhiker any day.


It's called being adult kid. Ya think the soldiers who took Normandy bitched like you're doing right now. Ya think the farmer who's up at 4 in the morning bitches like you're doing right now. Do you think blacksmith who worked like a dog to make a Knight's sword bitched like you're doing right now .

Life is a lot of work for the few moments you get to enjoy. That's been true from the day the first cave man tied a sharp rock to a stick and it will still be true when we're wandering the stars at will.
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