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A law aimed at preventing karoshi, or death from overwork, took effect this month as the first legislative action of its kind, but whether the largely symbolic step will result in effective measures to eliminate health-related deaths and suicides of overworked and stressed-out company workers depends on further efforts by officials, lawmakers and employers.

Long after the problem was widely recognized in the 1980s, we still have hundreds of cases of people dying or killing themselves each year after being subjected to excessive workload or psychological stress on the job. As required by the law, the government should start by exposing the gravity of the problem.

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