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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Abe’s work-style reform will increase risk of ‘karoshi’: bereaved families
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2017 March 8 - 14 [LABOR]

Abe’s work-style reform will increase risk of ‘karoshi’: bereaved families

March 9, 2017
Bereaved families of workers who died from overwork have criticized the Abe government’s “work-style reform” proposal to set an upper limit on overtime hours at 100 hours a month. They say that it will further increase the risk of “karoshi” (death from overwork).

At a meeting of the Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform in February, the Abe administration presented a proposal to place a ceiling on hours of overtime at 100 hours a month and 80 hours on average for two months. The Labor Committee of the House of Representatives on March 8 held a hearing session of unsworn witnesses regarding this proposal.

Lawyer Kawahito Hiroshi, acting for the family of a young female worker who committed suicide after overworking at the leading ad agency Dentsu, made a statement at the session. He condemned the government policy for putting corporate profits before workers’ lives.

Kawahito pointed out that as the Dentsu worker’s suicide was officially recognized as work-related in September 2016, many companies have voluntarily begun to restrict overtime hours to below 80 hours a month, the government-set maximum to avoid death from overwork. “If the government proposal is legalized, it will go against the current efforts to shorten working hours,” he stressed.

Another unsworn witness, Teranishi Emiko, the head of a nationwide network of family members of “karoshi” victims, referred to the fact that she stated her opinion in the Diet when lawmakers were discussing a bill designed to prevent death from overwork in 2014. “At that time, I never dreamed that the government would draw up a bill to in effect increase ‘karoshi’ three years later. There is no job that is more important than the right to life. The government is heading in the opposite direction,” she said.

Past related article:
> Keidanren exec firms force workers to work overtime exceeding danger line of death from overwork [February 4, 2017]
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