TOKYO — Miwa Sado, a young journalist for Japan’s state-run broadcaster, spent the summer of 2013 frantically covering two local elections in Tokyo.
Over the course of a month, she clocked 159 hours of overtime. She rarely took weekends off. She worked until midnight nearly every night. On her birthday, June 26, she emailed her parents, who thought she sounded weak.
Not quite a month later, just days after the second election, she died of congestive heart failure. She was 31.
The case — the latest high-profile example of karoshi, or “death from overwork” — came to light only after the broadcaster, NHK, announced it this week.
Karoshi became widely recognized as a phenomenon in the late 1980s, as stories of blue-collar employees keeling over at work appeared to expose a sinister side to Japan’s postwar economic miracle. Over the years, cases of karoshi have been reported among white-collar executives, automotive engineers and immigrant trainees.
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