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Companies with employees that put in more than 100 hours of overtime per month might be made to have such workers undergo medical checkups to reduce the incidence of suicides and “karoshi,” or death from overwork.

After receiving a recommendation Wednesday from a ministry study group that the Industrial Safety and Health Law be revised to make it clearer that it is a company’s responsibility if any of its employees are overworked, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said it would consider the proposal, ministry officials said.

The law revision might be enacted during the next regular Diet session beginning in January, they said.

Under the revised law, companies would be required to have employees who work more than 100 hours of overtime per month or those with an average 80 hours per month for two to six months be interviewed and given physical checkups by doctors.

The doctors would then tell such workers and their employers to ensure that the employees take holidays and shorten their working hours. They would also check if the overworked employees show any signs of depression.

Stress that can result in death increases sharply when an employee takes on more than 80 hours of overtime per month, the ministry said.

The incidence of suicide caused by depression rises when employees work more than 100 hours a month of overtime, it said.

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