Japanese woman dies after working 159 hours overtime

Ms Sado died after working 159 hours of overtime in one month.
Ms Sado died after working 159 hours of overtime in one month. Photo credit: ANN News

Labour inspectors have ruled that a woman in Japan died due to working 159 hours of overtime in the month leading up to her death.

Miwa Sado, a 31-year-old political journalist for the country's national broadcaster NHK, succumbed to heart failure in July 2013, but the case was not made public until this week.

The Japan Times reported that officials deemed the death "karoshi", a Japanese term that literally means death from overworking. Ms Sado took two days off in the 30 days before her death.

She covered the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and died three days after reporting on a local election. 

A senior official for NHK, Masahiko Yamauchi, said Ms Sado's death was a "problem for our organisation as a whole, including the labour system and how elections are covered".

In Japan, around 2000 people a year kill themselves due to work related stress, and the government says it is working to reduce that toll. 

A government survey in 2015 showed that one fifth of the workforce in Japan clocks more than 80 hours extra of work time each month.

In February, the government launched campaign encouraging employees to leave work early on the last Friday of every month, and in May it named and shamed more than 300 companies in breach of labour laws.

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