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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Another NHK Reporter In Tokyo Dies From Overwork

The October 2019 death of a man in a management-level position at public broadcaster NHK was caused by excessive workload and long working hours, the broadcaster said in a briefing, Tomofumi Inagaki and Yuka Matsubara reported for Mainichi Japan.

Photo Insert: NHK

NHK disclosed that the Tokyo Labor Bureau's Shibuya Labor Standards Inspection Office in August this year recognized the death of the employee in his 40s as work-related.

He belonged to the capital region broadcasting center and was the lead reporter of a team covering the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In 2013, NHK reporter Miwa Sado, 31 at the time, who also covered the metropolitan government, died at home. Her death was recognized in 2014 as the result of overwork.

The latest case revealed that the working environment at the public broadcaster hasn't improved.

NHK executives including Senior Director Hanako Yasuho, who oversees human resources and labor affairs, and Toshio Horibe, chief at the Headquarters for Media Strategy, appeared at the Sept. 2 news conference.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

They said around the time of the reporter's death, the leader was covering news related to the Tokyo Olympics, House of Councillors election and a typhoon that caused damage in the Kanto region.

One day in October 2019, his family noticed that he was not getting up, and he was sent to the hospital. He later died. His workplace hadn't picked up on any signs of his condition, and he showed up at work the day before.

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

While NHK hasn't revealed the exact cause of death or whether he had preexisting conditions, saying that the broadcaster is respecting the bereaved family's wishes, Media Strategy Headquarters chief Horibe said, "At least in our understanding, he didn't take his own life."

Yasuho told the news conference that the man was "honest, and was trusted by his subordinates, colleagues and supervisors. He was highly appreciated at work." She apologized, saying, "We're deeply sorry for the bereaved family."

Entrepreneurship: Business woman smiling, working and reading from mobile phone In front of laptop in the financial district.

Regarding the fact that another employee's death was recognized as work-related, Yasuho said, "It's extremely regrettable. We're taking this very seriously." The broadcaster said the man's monthly average overtime was 92 hours over a period of five months before his death, exceeding the death by overwork yardstick of 80 hours per month.

In the previous case, Miwa Sado died at home of congestive heart failure in July 2013, and the Shibuya labor inspection office recognized her death as work-related in May 2014.

Health & lifestyle: Woman running and exercising over a bridge near the financial district.

In response, NHK introduced work style reform in December 2017. The broadcaster claims that it's implemented measures to alleviate long working hours among reporters covering the metropolitan government.

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