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Mon 25 May 2015 12:54 PM

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Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork

Japan’s push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. Pushed to their limits, thousands of Japanese are literally working themselves to death each year, a scourge the Asian power has started to address but is seen getting worse in the global economic crisis

Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
This picture taken on May 22, 2015 shows a businessman sleeping on a bench at a Tokyo train station. Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
This picture taken on May 22, 2015 shows businessmen sleeping on a bench at a Tokyo train station. Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
This picture taken on May 22, 2015 shows businessmen sleeping on a bench at a Tokyo train station. Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
This picture taken on May 22, 2015 shows a businessman walking on a street in Tokyo. Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
Japanese lawyer Hiroshi Kawahito speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on October 17, 2008, while a portrait of Japanese nurse Ai Takahashi, a victim of 'karoshi' or death by overwork is displayed. Pushed to their limits, thousands of Japanese are literally working themselves to death each year, a scourge the Asian power has started to address but is seen getting worse in the global economic crisis. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
Fujie Sugiyama holds a portrait of his son Takanori at the Nagoya district court after her son was recognized as a victim of 'karoshi' or death by overwork at the court in Nagoya in Aichi prefecture, central Japan on October 5, 2007. Pushed to their limits, thousands of Japanese are literally working themselves to death each year, a scourge the Asian power has started to address but is seen getting worse in the global economic crisis. (AFP/Getty Images)
Japan: Karoshi or death from overwork
A man talks on his mobile phone in the street of Singapore's financial district 27 September 2005. Asians work harder than just about anyone else on Earth, but their societies and economies are being transformed as many nations shift to a five-day working week and citizens discover the weekend. Even in Japan, where death from overwork became so common that it was given its own name, 'karoshi', school and working hours are gradually being confined to Monday to Friday, and the number of public holidays has been increased. But Japanese workers still put in an impressive 42 hours each week, and they are outdone by the South Koreans and Singaporeans who spend an average 46 hours at the grindstone, according to International Labor Organisation (ILO) figures. (AFP/Getty Images)