The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is finalizing a draft bill that would try to solve and prevent deaths from overworking, a phenomenon that is all too common in Japan and even has its own name, karoshi. The bill seeks to make the government responsible for implementing and promoting the preventive measures for such occurrences.
The working group from the LDP is working on four pillars for the bill: intensive research and investigation into death from overworking, more public awareness on the issue, improving counseling services as support for the overworked and workaholics, and lastly, providing measures to prevent deaths as a result of karoshi. They are looking to have the bill passed and supported by a suprapartisan group, which includes opposition party members that also tried to have a basic bill approved late last year, also looking at measures to prevent death from overworking.
The current bill being prepared says that both the companies and the local governments have a responsibility to ensure that employees are not too overworked to the point that they will die from it. It also suggests setting up a council that would listen to the families of those who died, and also the labor union or labor group representatives. However, the working group still have not come up on a specific definition for death from overworking, as well as what the bill should be called. Many believe that karoshi includes brain and cardiac disorders as well as several mental disorders. Some believe that there are other diseases that can be traced to the fact that the employees have been working far too much.