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Japan’s Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal by a group of activists demanding that the government name companies whose employees have died from being overworked.
In March 2009, the civic group requested that the Osaka Labor Bureau name companies within its jurisdiction that paid compensation within the past seven years for employees who died from strokes, heart attacks, and other health problems determined to be related to work, The Japan Times reported.
n Japan, karoshi – meaning “death from overwork” – claims around 200 lives annually, according to the Ministry of Labor. The first documented case of karoshi dates back to 1969, when a 29-year-old married man working in the shipping department of Japan’s largest newspaper company suddenly suffered a stroke and died.
Another man, whose death was also deemed work-related, was a 37-year-old bus driver who worked more than 3,000 hours a year and did not have a single day off in the 15 days leading up to his fatal stroke.
Since the late 1980s, karojisatsu - or “suicide caused by overwork” - has also become a serious social issue in Japan.