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Overwork leads to the suicide of 24 year-old Dentsu employee in Japan

Matsuri Takahashi

Matsuri Takahashi; image: Asahi Shimbun

An employee of Dentsu in Japan has taken her own life as a result of a work overload, according to a Tokyo labour department ruling.

24 year-old Matsuri Takahashi joined Dentsu in April 2015 and committed suicide nine months later, on Christmas Day 2015, after a big increase in her workload two months prior, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun is reporting.

She worked for Dentsu’s digital division, which last month admitted to overbilling 111 of its clients for digital media services and blamed a lack of manpower.

According to her family lawyers, Takahashi’s workload increased significantly from October 2015, clocking 105 hours of overtime between 9 October and 7 November.

The report concluded that she had suffered mental collapse due to the burden of overwork and ended her own life.

In messages to her colleagues and friends before her death, she wrote how she wanted to die, according to the report in Asahi.

A Dentsu representative told Asahi: “We view our employee’s suicide very seriously, as we have yet to grasp the contents (of the inspection office’s judgment).”

Work-related suicides at Dentsu have occurred before. In 1991, a young staffer took his life as a result of chronically long hours, and his family sued the company.

Reports of Takahashi’s death come less than three years after a young creative in Indonesia died allegedly as a result of overwork, and an account executive in China, also 24 years of age, passed over six months prior after suffering from a stress-related heart attack after working long hours continually for a month.

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