All work and no play can be deadly.
A TV reporter in Japan worked herself to death after logging 159 hours of overtime and taking only two days off in the month before she died, according to a report Thursday.
Miwa Sado, 31, who worked for public broadcaster NHK in Tokyo, died of congestive heart failure in July 2013, according to the Japan Times.
A local labor standards office attributed her death to “karoshi” — death from overwork — a year later, but her former employer only publicized her case this week.
Her death sheds light on the oppressive work culture in Japan, where employees who work very long hours have been dropping like flies in increasing numbers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has been trying to improve labor conditions after Matsuri Takahashi, 24, a new hire at ad agency Dentsu, committed suicide in 2015.
Officials ruled that her death was a result of stress induced by long work hours. She had amassed 100 hours of OT a month.
Takahashi posted a chilling message on social media a few weeks before her death, the Guardian reported.
“I want to die,” she wrote. “I’m physically and mentally shattered.”
NHK said it kept track of Sado’s hours through personal statements and time cards — but has admitted there was room for improvement.
Why some people pretend to be busy at work
Feeling bored at work could spark your next big idea
The one thing that could give you a creative boost
This is the one survival guide that everybody needs
Company official Masahiko Yamauchi said Sado’s case was a “problem for our organization as a whole, including the labor system and how elections are covered.”
Yamauchi said the case was kept under wraps this long partly because of the wishes of Sado’s family.
Her relatives now say they want to make sure such a tragedy doesn’t happen again.
“Even today, four years after, we cannot accept our daughter’s death as a reality,” her parents said in a statement released by NHK. “We hope that the sorrow of the bereaved family will never be wasted.”
Japan’s government — which said one in five workers were at risk of death from overwork — proposes to cap monthly OT at 100 hours and to penalize companies that allow their workers to go over that, according to the Guardian.
More than 2,000 people killed themselves in Japan due to work-related stress in the year to March 2016, while dozens of others died from heart attacks, strokes and other conditions related to their jobs.
Japanese employees work much longer hours than their counterparts in the US, Britain and other developed countries, according to research.
In February, the country launched a campaign urging workers to leave early at 3 p.m. on the last Friday of every month, the Independent reported.