“Karoshi” is the name given to the latest cause of death of a very high number of Japanese workers. It’s caused by the excess of work and stress that Japanese people undergo every day.
Long shifts and few sleeping hours
In Japan, it is very normal to have a 12-hour shift and have very few hours of sleep: the average sleeping time per night is six and a half hours. Could you even imagine? On top of that, the Japanese only have around 9 paid vacation days per year.
If that weren’t enough already, according to Japanese culture, the workers cannot leave their offices before their bosses do, and afterwork karaoke is a must at the end of every work day, which might sound very nice, but you can imagine how tired one can be after such shifts.
This hectic lifestyle has been the cause of death of thousands of Japanese civilians for decades. It has become so common it has even adopted its own name in Japan: “karoshi“.
“Karoshi” is increasingly extending
The term was first acknowledged in 1987, when the Health Ministry started obtaining data on this phenomenon. At first, the death rate started with a couple of hundreds per year, but it has been increasing since. Official numbers now include up to 10,000 deaths annually.
Compensation for the relatives
This cause of death is so extended there is even an official “compensation law” for the victim’s relatives: if “karoshi” has been determined as the clear cause of death, relatives obtain around $20,000 from the government, and payments of up to $1,6 million from the company itself.