Japanese Woman Dies After Working Almost Nonstop for Month

2013 death of reporter Miwa Sado only now getting attention
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2017 8:37 AM CDT
Japanese Woman Dies After Working Almost Nonstop for Month
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is seen here with its two protruding towers.   (Wikimedia/Fumihiko Ueno)

Japanese reporter Miwa Sado averaged five hours of overtime per day during a month in the summer of 2013 while covering Tokyo metropolitan government elections as well as a national House of Councillors election. It all proved too much. Sado, a 31-year-old who worked for public broadcaster NHK, died of congestive heart failure three days after the House of Councillors election in what NHK now reveals was the result of overwork, reports the Japan Times. As the latest in a trend of such deaths in Japan, the case is sure to lead to increased scrutiny on Japanese work culture, which features incredibly long hours. According to NHK, it is only now being made public on the wish of Sado’s family that such a death never happen again.

"Even today, four years after, we cannot accept our daughter's death as a reality," say Sado's parents. "We hope that the sorrow of the bereaved family will never be wasted." Following the overwork death of a 24-year-old woman in 2015, Japan's government found 20% of workers were at risk of a similar fate and proposed limiting overtime hours at 100 per month, reports the Guardian. Sado, labor inspectors found, had clocked 159 hours of overtime and taken just two days off in the month before her death. "With this in mind, we are working on reforming our working styles, including reviewing the work procedures for reporters, and we will further seek to secure the health of our staff," NHK tells the Tokyo Reporter. (This company faces charges after an overwork death.)

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