Everyone is familiar with the term "death from overwork". "Death from overwork" comes from Japanese. Since the burst of the bubble economy in the 1980s, there have been frequent deaths from overwork in Japan.
And every victim of overwork has suffered tremendous physical and mental pressure.
Sugimoto Aya in the photo was 22 years old at the time, and she was full of joy.
Because she just graduated, she can immediately enter the medical company and become the nurse she has always dreamed of.
After working for 8 months, she left a suicide note and wrote: I hate myself very much, I don't know what I can do, and it is very painful. Please forgive me for being disappointed.
Ended his life in a solitary apartment.
Sugimoto Aya’s mother, Ms. Sugimoto Chiharu, couldn’t understand how her daughter who loves to talk, laughs, makes friends, and plays badminton would make such a choice?
Until I saw her work schedule.
Chiharu Sugimoto, the family member of the victim of "Death from Overwork": This was in August (2012) and worked 85 hours of overtime.
(Daughter) often goes home at 10 or 11 in the evening, then continues to work, sleeping only two or three hours a day.
The work time card shows that I work overtime every day. I work overtime for more than 90 hours in the second month of employment. I think it is overwork.
Sugimoto Aya was a newcomer at the time, and she had to arrive at the company one hour before the official start of work every morning, so she got up at 4:30 in the morning, and could not rest immediately after returning home late at night. She had to continue to work overtime to write reports.
This is true almost every day.
Ms. Sugimoto filed a lawsuit with the court in 2013. After four and a half years of litigation, the court ruled that Aya Sugimoto committed suicide due to overwork and suffered from depression and was judged to have died from overwork.
One aspect that Sugimoto Aya faces is the high intensity of working hours, but also the huge mental pressure.
She writes down the day's work carefully every day, but most of the supervisor's comments are negative, and in order to get affirmation, Sugimoto Aya can only work harder.
Such a vicious circle made her despair.
Chiharu Sugimoto, a family member of the victim of "Overworked Death": Excessive comments made people feel frustrated and depressed because they were exhausted from working for a long time and were bullied by their boss.
It's not just my daughter, no matter what happens.
Headquarters reporter Wang Meng: There were a total of 7 people who joined Aya Sugimoto at that time, and now only one person still works for this company.
Her mother told her more than once that she should pay attention to her body and not be too tired.
But these words are often known to an employee, but cannot be done.
The problem of "death from overwork" has plagued Japanese society for over 30 years.
The Japanese government issued the first "White Paper on Prevention of Overwork and Death" in 2016, which showed that one-fifth of the interviewed companies admitted that their employees worked too long to a dangerous level.
The number of work-related injury insurance claims for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases increased from 85 in 2000 to 260 in 2016, and the number of work-related injury insurance claims for mental disorders increased from 36 to 498 during the same period.
Ms. Sugimoto said that she wants to continue to make her own voice and change this society where overtime is common.
It is difficult to identify!
Putting an end to "death from overwork" is not easy
In order to prevent death from overwork, the Japanese government has promulgated many laws over the years.
Relevant laws in 2005 defined "death from overwork": death due to cerebrovascular disease or heart disease caused by overloading of work, and suicide due to mental problems caused by excessive psychological burden at work, etc.
In 2018, Japan stipulated that overtime hours were “in principle up to 45 hours per month”, and no more than 100 hours per month during peak hours. Companies that violate the regulations will be punished.
However, can these efforts really curb the prevailing atmosphere of "overtime" in Japanese society?
Working overtime of 80-100 hours per month is considered to be the "warning line for death from overwork" in Japan, and is also an important criterion for judging death from overwork.
If you work 80 to 100 hours of overtime per month, calculated on 22 working days per month, then your daily overtime is 3.6 to 4.5 hours.
This squeezes people's normal rest and relaxation time, and will affect people's physical and mental health in the long run.
Mr. Takasaki Chang has been involved in litigation regarding the identification of manual injuries during his lawyer career for more than 30 years.
Lawyer Takasaki Chang: (Determining the death of overwork) There are two main points. The first is that the working hours are long, and the second is that the nature of the work will bring a super mental load to the workers, such as the responsibility of the work. Mental pressure must make various decisions independently, work must be completed within the specified time, and so on.
Long hours of work and overload pressure are the main causes of death.
Japan enacted the "Labor Standards Law" as early as 1988, and in 2014 began to implement the "Law to Prevent Death from Overwork."
In 2017, the "Work Style Reform Association Act" was passed.
In 2018, several related laws were revised.
These laws have strict regulations on overtime hours and the consequences of violations of overtime time limits by corporate executives.
But up to now, it cannot be said that the problem of death from overwork in Japan has been completely resolved, because it is too difficult to find death from overwork.
Lawyer Takasaki Chang: The problem is that this kind of 80 hours or 100 hours ("overworked death cordon" rule) is very difficult for workers to produce evidence.
It is best to have a working time card or record working hours in a computer, but in many cases such evidence cannot be produced, so although the law has such a provision, it is difficult to implement.
Some companies do prohibit overtime work and even force employees to go home as soon as possible after get off work hours, but they can only take their work home.
The Japanese invented a term for this situation, "shorten working hours harassment", which is used to describe this kind of forced off-get off work behavior as disturbing as all kinds of harassment in the workplace.
In 2018, "shorten working hours harassment" even became a buzzword in Japan.
According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, in 2019, the number of people working over 80 hours a month will still reach about 3 million.
Lawyer Takasaki Chang: The Japanese believe that work is all of life. This is a social trend and labor values.
There should be more fun in life than the pleasure brought by long hours of work.
It is very important to cultivate a new social value to reduce working hours.
Headquarters reporter Wang Meng: The ubiquitous technical equipment obscures the definition of "working hours", and overloading has become a global problem.
And for a long time in Japanese society, fatigue and excellence are also virtues, which makes workers afraid or unwilling to slow down.
The change of concept must be accompanied by the reform of working methods and work efficiency. I am afraid it will take longer.