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Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to sudden death, a phenomenon the Japanese call karoshi, literally translated as “death from overwork,” or occupational sudden death, mainly from heart attack and stroke due to stress. Karoshi has been more widely studied in Japan, where the first case of this phenomenon was reported in 1969.

In 1987, as people’s concerns about karoshi increased, the Japanese Ministry of Labor began to publish statistics on the problem. Concomitantly death by overwork lawsuits have been on the rise in Japan, prompted by the deceased’s relatives demanding compensation payments.

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