Even living in Tokyo we don’t really get a sense of just how severe work conditions are for Japanese people working for Japan’s corporations putting in un-godly amounts of time at work resulting in many employees suffering from exhaustion. What is it going to take to free Japanese people, or to break their bondage to their corporations and companies that drive these people like modern corporate slaves? I’m really not sure, but being on the trains often enough looking at the faces of most Japanese is rather down right depressing. Meanwhile, youth in Japan are off in a lala-land with their with mindless texting, Pokemon Go playing, mind-numbing games and a pop culture about as sophisticated as watching steel balls drop through slots at a pachinko parlor. The comments might be worth reading at the bottom of this Independent article on Japan.
Japanese people ‘dying from overwork’ by putting in more than 60 hours a week
by Anna Fifield Kashiwa • 86 comments
In the West, there’s no end to stories and listicles and books telling you how to work more productively so you can spend more time with your family or doing the things you love.
In Japan, there’s not even a term for “work-life balance”. What there is, though, is a word for “death by overwork.” It’s “karoshi”, and it’s considered such an inevitable result of Japan’s notoriously grueling work culture that it’s hardly even discussed.
But every year here, hundreds, maybe thousands, of Japanese people literally work themselves to death.
Kiyotaka Serizawa was one of them.
A year ago in July, the 34-year-old killed himself after working crazy hours – 90 hours a week during the last weeks of his life – at a company that does maintenance at apartment buildings.
“His colleagues told me that they were amazed how much he worked,” his father, Kiyoshi Serizawa, said in an interview in their family home. “They said they’d never seen anyone who didn’t even own the company work so hard.”
Japan has a working culture where spending long hours at the grindstone, or in compulsory social situations with superiors after work, is the norm.
It began in the 1970s, when wages were relatively low and employees wanted to maximise their earnings. It continued through the boom years of the 1980s, when Japan became the world’s second-largest economy and everyone was on the juggernaut.
And it remained after the bubble burst in the late 1990s, when companies began restructuring and employees stayed at work to try to ensure they weren’t laid off.
Still, irregular workers – who worked without benefits or job security – were brought in, making the regular workers toil even harder.
Now, no one blinks an eyelid at 12-hour-plus days.
“In a Japanese workplace, overtime work is always there. It’s almost as if it is part of scheduled working hours,” said Koji Morioka, an emeritus professor at Kansai University who is on a committee of experts advising the government on ways to combat karoshi. “It’s not forced by anyone, but workers feel it like it’s compulsory.”
While the basic workweek is 40 hours, many workers don’t put in extra hours for fear of being given a bad performance evaluation. This has led to the concept of “service overtime” – “service” being Japanese for “free”.
The Social Economic Enslavement Of Japan