Reporter who died in 2013 was overworked, NHK admits

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Research has revealed that Japanese employees work significantly more extended hours than other developed nations such as the United States and Britain.

A 31-year-old journalist died in Japan after clocking 159 overtime hours during a month in which she took only two days off.

A Japanese woman died July 2013 from overwork, the country's public broadcaster NHK and former employee of the political reporter made public this week.

In response to her death, Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and the government have proposed a monthly overtime cap at 100 hours and penalties for companies who contribute to Japan's workplace culture of overworking to prove dedication.

Sado's employer said that it did not release her cause of death out of respect to her family. Due to this, activists in Japan have continually called for new labor laws better regulating working hours in the hopes of ending deaths like Sado's. Two years ago, an employee for an advertising agency committed suicide after working over 100 hours of overtime in the month before her death - officials believe this strenuous schedule caused her to commit suicide.

In a statement issued through NHK, Sado's parents said: "Even today, four years on, we can not accept our daughter's death as a reality". Japan's employees used, on average, only 8.8 days of their annual leave in 2015, less than half their allowance, according to the health ministry.

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"I want to die as I am destroyed physically and mentally", Takahashi had penned on social media before her death.

Excessive hours are such a big problem that there's even a Japanese word for death by overwork: karoshi.

A 2014 sleep study's poll found that Japan's workforce sleeps less than any other country.

On why it had taken more than three years to make the case public, Yamauchi said the broadcaster took into account the wishes of her family, who said they wanted to ensure such an incident never happens again.

More than 2,000 Japanese killed themselves due to work-related stress in the year to March 2016, according to the government, while dozens of other victims died from heart attacks, strokes and other conditions brought on by spending too much time at work.

The president of Dentsu, Toshihiro Yamamoto, admitted in court this month that the company had allowed employees to work illegal levels of overtime.

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