More than 30,000 people kill themselves each year in Japan, bestowing the country with the shameful honor of the highest suicide rate in the developed world. To deal with this reality, a group of lawmakers from across the political spectrum pushed an antisuicide bill through the Diet last month to force corporations, governments and hospitals to take measures to curb these tragedies.

But the government, which is obligated to try to save its citizens' lives, is at the same time pushing to kill off overtime pay and the limit of a 40-hour week for many of the nation's office workers.

It would be an understatement to say that the initiatives appear to be in direct conflict with one another.