In the past few months, hardly a day hasgone by without a news story popping up on Japan's tabloid TV shows replaying Diet member Mayuko Toyota's now infamous rant.

Toyota was taped heaping verbal abuse on her male secretary over mistakes he made. She can be heard yelling "kono hage!" ("you baldy!") and cracking a sick joke about the hypothetical murder of his daughter.

The incident, Diet secretaries and health experts say, is only the tip of the iceberg and points to a larger issue surrounding the high-stress work environment of these aides. Enduring conditions that are at times likened to slavery, they're often powerless against exploitation by the lawmakers they serve.