Japanese Ad Exec Resigns After Employee Suicide

N-resign-a-20161229-870x605The president of Dentsu Inc., Japan's largest advertising agency, resigned because of an overworked employee's suicide last year. In a news conference, Tadashi Ishii said, "We deeply regret failing to prevent the overwork of our new recruit. I offer my sincere apology." He also said, "Although we took various countermeasures, the issue of overwork has not been improved. I will take full responsibility."

According to an executive at the firm, 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi was forced to work long hours and underreport her time. She died by jumping from a high floor of the company's living quarters.

An employee who watched the news conference said, "His stepping down is a natural decision to prevent the company's image from deteriorating further." Resigning is common in these situations in Japan.

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  • Employees seem skeptical that the company will change, but they are turning out the lights at 10 pm to encourage people to stop working and go home. What else could they do to change the culture of overwork?
  • Advertising firms in the United States have a similar reputation for long hours. Why do you think that's the case?
  • Under what, if any, circumstances would you take a job that requires 100 hours of work each week?