David Blecken
Oct 12, 2018

Overwork: a tragedy in Japan spurs overdue change

The theme of overwork, and what to do about it, dominated the end of 2016 and much of 2017 in Japan.

New era? Dentsu CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto bows in front of media after attending the company’s Tokyo trial in September 2017 for labor practice violations.

The theme of overwork, and what to do about it, dominated the end of 2016 and much of 2017 in Japan. The issue was thrust into the spotlight when a government inspection revealed that workplace pressure had contributed to the suicide of Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old Dentsu employee who had recently joined as a graduate trainee. 

It emerged that Takahashi, a graduate of Tokyo University who should have had an extremely...

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