Japan firm Dentsu fined for excessive overtime

Japan's notoriously long working hours have long caused concerns about the detrimental impact such extended working days might have on the health of employees

A court in Tokyo has ordered advertising giant Dentsu Inc., to pay a small fine for failing to stop employees in Japan from logging excessive overtime, Japanese news reports said.

According to her family, Sado worked more than 159 hours overtime covering local and national elections in the month leading up to her death.

Dentsu's labour practices came under scrutiny after a young employee committed suicide in 2015.

Prosecutors in Tokyo sent the case against Dentsu to court after the suicide and it has drawn worldwide attention to hard labor conditions common at companies in Japan, and to the term karoshi-a word that means "death by overwork" in Japanese. The charge was overworking Takahashi and three other members of staff, it was in direct violation of labour laws. However, her case was only publicized by her employer this week, according to The Guardian.

Tokyo-based Dentsu said it "accepted the court's ruling, which marks the end of all legal proceedings for our company".

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They said Sado "rarely complained" but had become anxious in the month prior to her death. "It can not be overlooked" that the practice led to the death of Takahashi, the ruling of the court said.

NHK, which has covered the Dentsu case and the problem of karoshi in Japanese society extensively on air, said it had made a decision to disclose its own case to ensure thorough reform within the company.

The case prompted national soul-searching and this year Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration endorsed an action plan for sweeping reforms of employment practices, including caps on overtime and better pay for part-time and contract workers.

TV reporter Miwa Sado died of congestive heart failure aged 31 in July 2013. "We will continue to work for reform in cooperation with her parents". "I even work on Saturdays", says a 38-year-old female employee at a Japanese bank.

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