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Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork, or karoshi, a phenomenon previously associated with the long-suffering salaryman that is increasingly afflicting young and female employees.

Labor demand, with 1.28 jobs per applicant, is the highest since 1991, which should help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe draw more people into the workforce to counter the effect of a shrinking population, but lax enforcement of labor laws means some businesses are simply squeezing more out of employees, sometimes with tragic consequences.

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