The Tokyo court today, ordered advertising firm Dentsu to pay 500,000 yen ($4,400) for violating labour laws. Japanese has been fined for making employees work excessive overtime, a practice that is widespread in the country.
Dentsu’s workplace culture came into investigation after young worker Matsuri Takahashi killed herself in 2015.Japanese authorities found that Ms Takahashi’s excessive work – reported to have included 100 hours of overtime a month for some time before her death – led to her suicide.
The prominent case led to renewed calls for changes to the country’s notoriously long working hours and illegal unpaid overtime.
The problem was again highlighted this week, when public broadcaster NHK said authorities determined the death of reporter Miwa Sado in 2013 was caused by overwork. The 31 year old died of heart failure.
The Dentsu and the NHK deaths are among the recent cases that have spurred calls for action on the social problem which was first recorded in the 1960s.Efforts have been made to change the culture of long working hours, including initiatives to encourage government employees to take more leave. Companies have also instituted mandatory “go home early” days.