More men break overtime threshold

More than one-fifth of male Japanese employees work more than 80 hours of overtime per month, the highest level in a decade, according to a labor force survey released Sunday.

For male workers in their late 20s and early 30s, the figure is more than one in four — 27.1 percent work more than 80 hours of overtime per month.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has determined that working 80 or more hours of overtime per month has a strong causal relationship with death from overwork, according to the survey conducted in July.

Amid ongoing record-high unemployment, male employees in their 30s are experiencing greater work burdens as more middle-aged men lose their jobs due to downsizing, the survey said.

The survey found that among the 31.19 million full-time male company employees working in July, 6.66 million, or 21.4 percent, work more than 60 hours per week. That rate translates into more than 80 hours of overtime per month.

Among those working more than 60 hours per week, those in their late 20s to early 30s accounted for the highest percentage. They were followed, at 25.7 percent, by those in their late 30s, and then by those in their early 40s, who made up 24.9 percent of the over-80-hours-a-month group.

More than one-fifth of males in their late 20s to late 40s also worked more than 80 hours of overtime that month, the survey showed.

The proportion of male workers doing more than 80 hours of overtime per month hovered around 18 percent from 1993 to 1999, but has continued to rise for three consecutive years since it exceeded 20 percent in 2000.

The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications.