Japan's brutal working culture has come under scrutiny once again after claiming yet another life.
A 23-year-old construction worker at the Tokyo Olympics Stadium killed himself after disappearing from work in March, according to his lawyer and employer Sanshin Corp. The month before his death, he had logged more than 190 hours of overtime.
The Tokyo Labor Bureau confirmed that 'karoshi', the legal term for 'death by overwork', was the cause of his suicide. The man's hours far exceeded the 'karoshi' threshold of 80 hours, his lawyer said.
"The grief we feel over not being able to see the smile on our son's face again, will never go away," his parents said in a statement. "We want to make sure that this kind of tragedy will never happen again, and that the utmost effort will be made to improve working conditions for employees."
The report of the construction worker's death emerged just a week after Japanese broadcaster NHK revealed that the death of one of their reporters in 2013 was also due to overwork.
Miwa Sado died from heart failure in July 2013 after working marathon shifts for the state broadcaster. She had taken just two two days off in the month before her death.
Earlier this year, the family of another stadium worker who took his own life petitioned the government for 'accident compensation' after it emerged that their son had clocked 200 hours of overtime a month before his body was found in April.
The man's parents told Japanese media that he would wake up at 4.30am and not get home until after midnight.
"We really don't want other people to die from overwork like our son," they said.
In the same month as his suicide, the Japanese government approved a plan to cut working hours in a bid to lower the country's suicide rate, one of the highest in the world.
Every year hundreds of 'karoshi' death are recorded in Japan. A fifth of the Japanese workforce faces the risk of death from overwork, according to a 2016 survey by the Japanese government into the country's strenuous working culture.
More than 2,000 Japanese people took their own lives because of work-related stress in the year to March 2016, according to the government.
Japan has the highest suicide rate among the G7 countries. In 2015, the suicide rate – the ratio per 100,000 people – was 18.5. The government hopes to cut the rate by 30% over the next ten years.
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