Workaholics in Japan: Bad Karoshi

Karoshi or Karoshi - this is how the workplace deaths are called in Japan. From Japanese this expression is translated as "death by processing".

In the Land of the Rising Sun, the number of such cases is constantly growing. People try to work more than they can bear and die from overwork, heart attack or stroke right in the office, at their desk.

The first time karoshi happened in 1969 with a 29-year-old employee of a Japanese newspaper. In the 1980s, the Great Economic Bubble burst and the karosi fell one after another. Japanese workers and employees "worked hard" 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year - and this could not but affect their health. Since 1987, the Japanese Ministry of Labor has begun publishing official statistics on deaths from overwork at work annually. The Japanese are very afraid of being fired and work two or more hours a day, and no one pays them for this work. In 2008 alone, there were 189 karoshi cases in Japan. Another 208 workers were close to making ends meet at the workplace. Some just fell into a coma.

The Japanese government is fighting the karoshi as best it can - but people are still afraid of losing their jobs and "plow" like horses. In 2009, the Bank Mitsubishi SFJ Trust allowed its employees to leave work three hours early to care for children and elderly parents. Only 34 out of 7000 employees of the bank used this right. This is largely due to unspoken laws, according to which any employee of any Japanese company is simply obliged to recycle - otherwise he will let the team down and violate corporate ethics. And if he still decides to fix his overtime hours on paper or demand their payment, then soon his position will become vacant - and the whole conversation.

Nowadays for many young Japanese people it is common for a person to sit at work until 2-3 in the morning, and at 9 in the morning he needs to be in the office again. In 2000, even Japan's Minister of Labor Keizo Obuchi died from overwork. He worked 12 hours a day and used only three (!) Days off in a year and a half.