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2019.02.08

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.157: Measures to prevent karoshi

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

Every year, the government is obligated to conduct a survey of karoshi due to the Karoshi Prevention Measures Act. As mentioned in Column No. 94, karoshi literally means "death from overwork" and can be broken down into "ka," which means over, "ro," which means work, and "shi," which means death. The law classifies deaths due to an excessive work burden into two categories: deaths caused by cerebrovascular disease or heart disease, and suicides caused by psychiatric disorders.


In October 2018, the government released statistics regarding karoshi cases in 2017. As shown in Figure 1, the number of cases credited to cerebrovascular disease or heart disease caused by work and the number of deaths among them have decreased since 2010. However, the number of psychiatric disorder cases and suicides continues to increase .


Figure 3 shows the percentage of workers with more than 60 working hours a week at the end of the month, when work tends to increase. As this is one of the indicators of karoshi, the government is aiming to reduce it to 5% or less by 2020.


Figure 1: Workers' compensation insurance statistics on brain/heart disease
157-fig1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 2: Workers' compensation insurance statistics on psychiatric disorder
157-fig2.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 3: Percentage of workers with more than 60 working hours in a week at the end of month
157-fig3.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare



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