Dentsu Japan charged by Tokyo prosecutors over employee suicide

Dentsu Japan has been charged by prosecutors over the suicide of a young employee in 2015. Prosecutors in Tokyo are sending a case against the advertising giant to court after it was ruled that 24 year-old Matsuri Takahashi took her own life due to overwork. 

According to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun,  individual Dentsu executives were not indicted in the case. Following Dentsu’s initial referral to prosecutors in December, the company’s chief executive Tadashi Ishii announced his resignation. 

Ishii said at the time that he felt “deep responsibility as a person for overseeing the management of the company”.

His replacement Toshihiro Yamamoto announced his intention to “re-establish trust” within the company by tackling overwork. Before her death, Takahashi was said to be sleeping just 10 hours a week.

According to her family lawyers, Takahashi’s workload increased significantly from October 2015, clocking 105 hours of overtime between October 9 and November 7. The report, released in October 2016, concluded that she had suffered mental collapse due to the burden of overwork and ended her own life.

A spokeswoman for Dentsu Japan confirmed the legal case, saying: “We will move forward with an array of initiatives under our plan, including enhancing the working environment, reforming business processes, and cultivating human resources.

“We will thereby eliminate long working hours and ensure that our operations in Japan fully comply with local labour regulations while endeavouring to foster sustainable growth for our employees and the organisation.”

Takahashi’s suicide is not the only one to hit the company recently. In March this year, Dentsu Media Indonesia employee and general manager of a popular Indonesian girlband took his own life.

Jiro Inao, 47, was found dead in his bathroom at his home in South Tangerang, a suburb of the capital Jakarta. His death led to speculation from Indonesian media that overwork has contributed to his death, although Dentsu never commented publicly on the issue.


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