Chances are good that everyone knows someone who maybe spends a little too much time at the office or is always taking their work home with them. In Japan, it’s a lifestyle that’s being taken to such an extreme it’s now estimated that 20% of the country’s employed citizenry risk working themselves into an early grave. The term karoshi, which translates to ‘death from overwork’, was first used in Japan in 1978 to describe the phenomena of workers suffering strokes and heart attacks directly linked to working too much. Today, Japan’s labor standard board is frequently seeing cases where workers have put in 100-plus hours of overtime per month for months on end, leading to heart attacks and suicides. In 2015, records show 1,456 workers were victims of karoshi, although some experts feel that number could be more than ten times higher.
- Grueling work hours trigger spike on suicides by Japanese employees
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