By Cassandra Mainiero
When I submitted my re-contracting response to the Japanese
Exchange and Teaching (JET) Progamme, my elementary kocho-sensei asked one question.
“Only one year?”
“Yeah,” I sighed, feeling disappointed. “It’s a family obligation.”
By Tim van Gardingen
On an empty train station platform in rural Japan, there is a poster pasted on the wall with a message in imposing red letters: “Stop Karoshi!” Karoshi is a phrase meaning ‘death by overworking’, and the concept has become so normalised that it has entered the Japanese lexicon. The phenomenon, despite efforts to counter it, appears set to stay.
At first glance, the Japanese government appears to be working hard to battle the nation’s unhealthy working hours, but its current approach is at best superficial and at worst a purposeful avoidance of the problem.