Dentsu Tokyo Reduces Allowable Overtime Hours Following Staff Member Suicide

Just yesterday I noted that Dentsu Tokyo had come under investigation for possibly influencing the suicide of one of its workers, 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi. Takahashi's death is believed to have been linked to Karoshi, a Japanese cultural trend of overwork. There is actually a law that has been in place since 2014 to prevent this sort of death from overworking phenomenon. 

Following the death of Takahashi, Dentsu Tokyo has decided to institute a reduction in the maximum number of overtime hours a person can work in a month from 70 hours to 65. It should be noted that the official workday is 7 hours, versus the usual 8 hours in America. Still, 65 hours of overtime amounts to about 3.25 hours per day, assuming 20 workdays per month. 

In addition to this reduction in allowable overtime hours, the agency will also discourage those who are prone to work deep into the night by shutting all the office lights off by 10 p.m. These changes are set to take effect November 1. 



Of the cultural trend towards over-working, Tokyo-based staffing consultant Gary Bremermann told Campaign: "Many agencies take active measures to avoid these issues, such as monitoring work hours and better estimating workloads, but when there’s work to be done, the rules get bent." 

It's interesting to note that despite these recent changes to combat overworking, a rule created 50 years ago called Dentsu's 10 Devil Rules -- no longer part of official training but still contained within staff pocket notebooks -- reads: "Once you start something, don't let it go, even if you're killed." 

The agency might want to, ahem, kill the appearance of that particular rule from all official agency documents.


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