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Death by overwork: Japan's 100-hour overtime cap sparks anger for not accomplishing enough

Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator

Workaholic Japan has unveiled its first-ever plan to limit overtime, but critics want to give it the boot, saying an "outrageous" 100-hour-a-month cap will do nothing to tackle karoshi, or death from overwork.

Tokyo's bid to ease a national health crisis comes after the top executive at advertising giant Dentsu quit late last year in response to the suicide of a young employee who regularly logged more than 100 hours of overtime a month.

The death of Matsuri Takahashi generated nationwide headlines, prompting the government to come up with a solution to punishing work hours blamed for hundreds of deaths due to strokes, heart attacks and suicides every year.

A panel headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has since come up with a plan calling for a maximum of 100 overtime hours a month.

The conservative leader called it a "historic step for changing the way people work in Japan" but critics think the plan should be given its marching orders.

The Labour Lawyers' Association of Japan has slammed the proposed cap as "extremely inappropriate" and "impossible to support".

"It's tantamount to endorsing a limit that could cause overwork deaths," said Association head Ichiro Natsume.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/death-overwork-japans-100-hour-overtime-cap-sparks-033634548--finance.html

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"...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)

Comments

  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited April 19
    Caps and limits won't do anything at all, because companies will just indirectly force people to work unpaid overtime voluntarily through collective shaming.  The hours will still be put in, but if anything stress will increase because nobody will get paid for them and plenty of workers will be aware of how the situation is BS.
    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • mrpops09_CMOD_mrpops09_CMOD_ Chief Moderator
    I get in my office at 8:45 -9 AM....Take lunch from 12:15 until about 1:30ish, and then i'm out the door by 4:45.....All that considered, I'm the top sales person in my office.. Long hours don't = success in all cases.

    Would I do better if I worked 12-15 hour days? ....Yes, but is it worth it? ---Most certainly NO  

    MURIKA 
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    edited April 19
    Are we sure that it's the work that's killing them, and not the fact that they're drinking an entire distillery's worth of alcohol each night with their co-workers? 
    -------------------
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
  • mrpops09_CMOD_mrpops09_CMOD_ Chief Moderator
    edited April 19
    Are we sure that it's the work that's killing them, and not the fact that they're drinking an entire distillery's worth of alcohol each night with their co-workers? 
    That and the pollution from Fukushima....and the occasional godzilla attack (not really much that can be done about that)
    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  • Lynsey_ADMIN_Lynsey_ADMIN_ Administrator
    I blame Putin
    "Before you embark on a Journey of Revenge, Dig Two Graves" Confucius (504 bc)
    “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
    "If angry, count to ten. This will give you time to find a weapon." - Will Spencer
  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited April 19
    The alcohol certainly plays a role.  Stomach cancer rates are really high in Japan, and heart disease is a growing problem.  Heavy drinking can be linked to both.  Unhealthy diets are also involved. 

    Working people often skip or eat poor breakfasts (one or two rice balls with a bottle of tea or a can of sweet coffee is a favourite in Tokyo), have rushed lunches that are often unhealthy, and love to follow up night-time drinking with giant bowls of fatty ramen at 3am.  They don't go drinking every day, but certainly on Friday and often once or twice or more throughout the week (more if they are salespeople).

    At work, it is my understanding that the long hours are spent doing not so much.  From speaking to many salarymen from varied corporations and industries and from speaking to Americans and other foreigners who have worked in Japanese companies, I have gained the understanding that a typical "salaryman" office job day includes anywhere from 2-4 hours of mandatory meetings. 

    These meetings accomplish nothing save to maintain the sense of team Japanese companies value so much.  Seriously, it can take 6 months of these meetings for a decision to be made - not a joke.  In the meetings bosses and senior personnel talk about things while junior staff listen.  Opinions from junior staff are neither desired nor given.

    It is common for someone's work day to go like this:

    8:00am:   Arrive after tiring commute on busy train after a night of too-little sleep

    8:30am - 10:00am:  "Check emails" and do other unproductive tasks at your desk

    10:00am - 12:00am:  Daily morning meeting.

    12:00am - 1:00pm:  Lunch time, much or all of which may be spent at the desk.

    1:00pm - 3:00pm:  Whoa it's crunch time let's do some work guys

    3:00pm - 5:00pm:  Ah, but let's also have our afternoon meeting!

    5:00pm - ?:00pm:  More work if any is had, or more "email checking" if not. Can't leave until the boss goes, but the boss won't go until late to set a good example.

    Late:  Arrive home after busy train to hostile family, shower, eat, sleep.


    That is, completely seriously, life for quite possibly millions of Japanese businesspeople.  Western people working in Japanese companies are absolutely infuriated with the glacial pace of work and decision-making, and with their complete and overwhelming inability to affect any sort of change whatsoever. 

    One Australian guy I know once suggested to his boss, based on his own style of completing all his work for the day in a timely manner, that everyone could go home at 5:00pm and have a life if they did the same.  The boss was bewildered, replying that such a thing was simply not the Japanese way.

    I suppose it makes sense, because if employees have a life outside of work (which salarymen absolutely don't in most cases) they might acquire dangerous traits like a desire for self-actualization.  It is a poor drone that thinks for itself.

    Anyway, in conclusion, I think it's clear that the deaths here are caused by:

    1)  Too many hours

    2)  Stress/frustration over pointless, thankless and unending jobs

    3)  Alcoholism

    4)  Poor diet

    5)  Overall poor health














    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
  • I should also add that naps are acceptable and appreciated in Japanese offices.  A guy napping at his desk is seen as a hero, who has worked "so hard" that he has lost consciousness as a result.

    Also worth noting is that the "Japanese Way" is a complete fabrication introduced by westerners after WWII.  I'll try to find sources later, but essentially this one business consultant suggested a work style that would see people dedicating their lives and souls to their companies.  It was hugely appreciated by corporations and is now simply considered the way Japanese people have always been, with comparisons to samurai and feudal peasants drawn up fondly.
    People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.
    - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
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