When Work Becomes Deadly

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Many of us feel overworked and overwhelmed on the job. However, sometimes this can be taken to the extreme. Today we’re going to discuss an issue from across the world- the phenomenon of Karoshi in Japan.

Karoshi– “overwork death” is an unfortunate trend of deaths in workers usually caused by malnutrition, stress, heart attack, and stroke. This trend has been observed since 1969, with the first death of a 29 year old man who worked at a newspaper company.

Last year, almost 2,000 Japanese committed suicide due to work reasons. This is an incredible high number for a preventable cause of death. Japanese government has made attempts to quell the problem, with proposals to cap overtime hours. However, it is too little to late for many workers and their families.

Japan is certainly not the only country to experience this tragedy. In China, it has been noted in China Youth Daily that 600,000 people die every year from overwork. That accounts to almost 1,600 per day.

This condition is known as guolaosi in China. Guolaosi is known as “death from overwork” in Mandarin. It can be partially attributed to the prevalence of mega-factories, producing global goods in cramped and polluted conditions.

Many believe that hard work is a virtue. But at what cost?

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Bloomberg News- China

CBS News – Karoshi Deaths

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