Japan’s Dentsu President Has Resigned After The Death Of An Overworked Employee
Following the shocking death of a young Dentsu employee in December 2015, the top advertising agency's head has informed that he will be stepping down in January 2017
Tadashi Ishii, the president of Dentsu Inc., a Japanese international advertising and public relations company, said that he would tender his resignation at the company's board meeting in January.
"It is extremely regrettable that we could not prevent overwork by a new recruit… In order to take full responsibility, I would like to resign as president at a board meeting in January," Tadashi explained at a press conference, yesterday, 28 December, as reported by Asian Correspondent.
"We failed to avoid overwork (of our employees). I offer my sincere apology," added Tadashi, as reported by Nikkei Asian Review.
He also said that Dentsu and one of the company's employee had been referred to prosecutors by the Japanese labour department for alleged violation of labour standards law.
On 25 December 2015, a 24-year-old Dentsu employee, Matsuri Takahashi, killed herself by jumping off a corporate dormitory building in Tokyo.
She had only been working there for nine months.
It was reported that she was assigned to a job related to Internet advertising and was made a full-time employee in October 2015.
The affirmation came with a hefty workload - her overtime from 9 October to 7 November was 105 hours.
Prior to committing suicide, reports surfaced on how she had tweeted about her work, saying things like, "would rather die if this went on" and "death would be bliss".
The disturbing events led to Dentsu coming forward and stressing that they are taking the girl's death seriously but reports claim otherwise.
Takahashi was allegedly bullied at work.
In a tweet that she posted on 31 October 2015, her department head had apparently said that:
"Putting on a sleepy face during meetings means lack of management. Your hair is a mess, and don't come to work with your eyes all red. For you to be struggling with this amount of work means a total lack of capacity."
Nine months after the young girl's death, on 7 October 2016, the Mita Labour Standard Inspection Office declared that Takahashi's death has been recognised as karoshi (death from overwork)
BBC reported that Dentsu had been asked to reduce the amount of overtime its employees do and just last month, the company was raided by labour regulators.
In their efforts to comply to labour laws, Dentsu has reportedly been turning off lights at the headquarters by 10pm, while admitting that more than 100 of their workers are still working an extra 80 hours a month.
Japan is no stranger to the word karoshi as about 2,000 people kill themselves annually due to overwork.