A government survey showed that 20% clocked dangerous levels of overtime each month

One fifth of the Japanese workforce is risking death from overwork according to a government survey.

Hundreds of deaths related to overwork are reported annually in Japan including heart attacks, strokes and suicides.

The government survey, endorsed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet was part of the country’s first white paper on “karoshi” – the Japanese term for overwork.

Long hours, unpaid overtime, shorter holidays and fewer perks have become the norm at workplaces in Japan, with 12 hour working days considered to be normal practice.

The paper showed that 22.7% of companies polled between December 2015 and January 2016 admitted that some of their employees logged more than 80 hours of overtime each month. Additionally, the report showed that 21.3% of Japanese employees work 49 or more hours each week on average, which is well above the 16.4% reported in the US, 12.5% in Britan and 10.4% in France.

Last month, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has ordered workers to leave their desks by 8pm in an effort to crackdown overtime traditions.

The survey concluded that employees in Japan reported feeling high levels of stress related to their work and urged officials to ensure that companies improve working conditions.

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