Japan’s push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country’s notoriously long working hours — karoshi, or death from overwork.
Teruyuki Yamashita knows the risks all too well. The now 53-year-old worked day and night in a senior sales job, made countless overseas business trips, and slept an average of just three hours a night.
Six years ago, his frantic work pace took a near fatal turn after he collapsed from a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of brain bleeding, leading to three weeks in intensive care — and the loss of his sight.
“I told a nurse that it was dark — I didn’t realise that I was blind,” Yamashita said, recalling when he woke up in hospital.