Dentsu head quits following employee’s suicide due to overtime

According to latest reports the chief executive of Japanese advertising group Dentsu announced to step down after the suicide of a worker who had reportedly made to do hundreds of hours of overtime.

Dentsu chief executive, Tadashi Ishii said in a statement that he would tender his resignation at a January board meeting.

In December 2015, Matsuri Takahashi, 24, committed a suicide and in a note left for her mother, she asked: “Why do things have to be so hard?”.



Takahashi started working at Dentsu in April 2015 and has reportedly been doing an extra 100 hours a month.

Meanwhile Dentsu has been under immense pressure to cut down the quantity of overtime its workers do and in November it was penalized by labour regulators.

In September, the Japanese court ruled that Ms Takahashi’s death had been triggered by overwork. She would regularly return home at 5am after spending all day and night at the office.

In his statement, Mr Ishii, who has been chief executive in 2011, said: “This is something that should never have been allowed to happen.”

In the meantime Dentsu is trying to restrict overwork by switching off lights at the headquarters at 10pm, the firm admitted that more than 100 workers were still doing an extra 80 hours a month.

Death linked to extra working routine has been pretty common in Japan that there is a word, “karoshi”, to describe it. According to government figures, about 2,000 people a year kill themselves because of overload of work.

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