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Japan's Dentsu raided after overwork death

dpadpa 7/11/2016

Several offices of Japan's biggest advertising agency have been raided over suspicions its employees are being made to work excessive hours.

Japanese authorities have raided the country's biggest advertising agency Dentsu following the death of a 24-year-old employee due to overwork as they suspect widespread illegal overtime at the company.

Investigators from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare searched Dentsu's headquarters in Tokyo and its branches in Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Dentsu officials said the company will co-operate with the investigation.

Monday's move comes after the ministry recognised in September that Dentsu employee Matsuri Takahashi died of "karoshi," or death by overwork.

Takahashi committed suicide in December and her family argued she had worked 105 overtime hours a month, surpassing the limit of 70 hours set in a labour-management agreement, before developing symptoms of depression.

The ministry is set to refer Dentsu to prosecutors on suspicion of breaking the labour standards law, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed ministry officials.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference the government will push for reforms on ways people work so that "no lives should be lost from overwork."

According to a government report published last month, 12 per cent of Japanese companies said that their employees worked more than 100 extra hours.

Karoshi is a long-standing social issue that plagues the world's third largest economy.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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