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Japanese Company Charged in Worker's Suicide

Matsuri Takahashi, 24, killed herself after several months at Dentsu
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2017 9:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Japanese company that employed a young worker who killed herself from "overwork" will face charges, reports the Jiji Press. Top advertising agency Dentsu faces charges of violating labor standards related to illegal overtime in the case of Matsuri Takahashi, 24, who threw herself from one of the company's dorms on Christmas Day 2015. Prosecutors were seeking a fine in the case but did not plan to charge any individuals, the Kyodo agency reports via the BBC. Takahashi's suicide made global headlines, prompted the resignation of Dentsu's CEO, and led to calls to reform the country's rabid culture of long hours and unpaid overtime.

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There are several hundred cases of Japanese workers dying each year from "karoshi," or overwork, per the BBC. But the unofficial death toll is believed to be much higher. In the time before she died, Takahashi, who worked at Dentsu for less than a year, was said to have slept just 10 hours a week and clocked more than 100 hours of overtime per month. Her desperate final tweets included: "It's 4am. My body's trembling. I'm going to die." In a final note penned to her mother, the young woman asked, "Why do things have to be so hard?" The charges against Dentsu will end the investigation. (Japan encouraged workers to punch out early on Premium Friday.)

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