Dead for dough: Death by overwork around the world

Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork and suicides due to workplace stress.overwork060416

Previously, white-collar, male workers were common victims. But recent statistics reveal that younger and female employees are also falling prey to the problem.

The phenomenon is called karoshi. Karo means “overwork” and shi means “death”, in Japanese.

Two types of karoshi are recognised by Japan’s Labour Ministry. One is death due to cardiovascular illness linked to overwork. The other is if the person commits suicide due to work-related mental stress.

However, Japan is not the only country that has seen cases of work-related deaths. Here is a look at six cases from different countries including Japan.


Mr Toshitsugu Yagi’s death in 1987 was not recognised by the Labour Ministry as one that was caused by overwork. That was because it said he had not worked for 24 hours continuously, or put in at least 16 hours daily for seven consecutive days before he collapsed.