One thing is clear after the government's latest report on karōshi (death from overwork): Japan has a long way to go to improve citizens' work-life balance.

The report, the eighth one mandated by the 2014 law on karōshi prevention measures, delves into the amount of sleep both self-employed and corporate workers are getting and how that affects workers' health. Research has shown that, when the gap between the amount of sleep people want and the amount they get is bigger than two hours a day, it leads to a range of health issues, including daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating and digestive and intestinal disorders, not to mention mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

The report showed that, despite improvements made over the years by the government to increase awareness on overwork, the health of many workers remains a huge national concern. Over 90% of self-employed and corporate workers feel they need at least six hours of sleep a night, but only about half of nearly 10,000 who were surveyed said they are getting that much sleep.