A Japanese family says a young doctor committed suicide after working 200-hour overtime in one month

Editor’s note: Help is there if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or mental health issues.
In the United States: Call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Worldwide: The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Friends Worldwide have contact information for crisis centers around the world.


The family of a 26-year-old Japanese doctor who died by suicide last year after working more than 200-hour overtime in one month has appealed for change in the nation. Long suffering from burnout culture.

Takashima Shingo was working as a resident doctor at a hospital in Kobe City when he committed suicide last May, according to public broadcaster NHK.

According to the family’s lawyer, Takashima worked more than 207 overtime hours in the month before his death, and did not take a day off for three months, NHK reported.

Conan Medical Center Hospital denied the accusations at a news conference last week. But in June, the government’s labor inspectorate ruled that his death was a work-related accident due to the long hours he worked. According to the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). Highlighting the enormous pressures placed on healthcare workers.

Japan has long suffered from a culture of constant overwork, with employees all over the world various sectors Reporting punitive working hours, high pressure from supervisors and respect for the company, according to the Department of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The resulting stress and mental health damage has even caused a phenomenon called “karoshi” or “overwork death” – leading to legislation aimed at preventing deaths and injuries from excessive working hours.

At a press conference last Friday, Takashima’s family described what they said was a young man driven to despair, and expressed their grief over his death.

Before his suicide, his mother, Junko Takashima, said the doctor was saying “it’s very difficult” and “no one will help him,” according to a video released by local media of the press conference.

“No one is looking for me, he kept telling me. I think the environment has put him on edge,” she said.

She added, “My son will not become a good doctor, and he will not be able to save patients and contribute to society.” “However, I sincerely hope that the doctors’ work environment can be improved so that the same thing does not happen again in the future.”

Takashima’s brother, who was not named, also spoke at the press conference, saying, “However we look at my brother’s working hours, 200 hours (of overtime) is an incredible number, and I don’t think the hospital takes a strong approach to running the business in the first place.

At a news conference last week, Conan Medical Center responded. “Often (doctors) spend time studying on their own and sleeping according to their physiological needs,” said a company spokesperson. “Due to the very high degree of freedom, working hours cannot be determined precisely.”

When contacted by CNN on Monday, a hospital spokesperson said, “We do not recognize this case as overtime and will stop commenting on this in the future.”

A number of cases of burnout have made national and global headlines over the years—for example, Japanese officials concluded in 2017 that 31-year-old political reporter, Who died in 2013, he was suffering from heart failure due to spending long hours at work. She had worked 159 overtime in the month before her death, according to NHK.

The problem remains particularly high in the healthcare sector. One 2016 study It found that more than a quarter of full-time hospital doctors work up to 60 hours per week, while 5% work up to 90 hours, and 2.3% work up to 100 hours.

Another report, published this year by Association of Japanese Medical CollegesIt found that more than 34% of physicians qualify for “a special level of overtime beyond the upper limit of 960 hours per year”.

Reforms to the Labor Law and Overtime Regulations in 2018 saw some minor progress, with the government Reporting for the past year that the average number of annual working hours per employee is “gradually decreasing”. However, although the number of actual hours worked is declining, overtime hours have fluctuated over the years.

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