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Head of Dentsu Japan resigns over employee’s “death by overwork”

The president of Japanese advertising group Dentsu is to step down over what the government has deemed the “death by overwork” of a 24-year-old employee.

Tadashi Ishii, who has been president since 2011, said he would resign at a board meeting in January in order to take full responsibility.

“It is extremely regrettable that we could not prevent overwork by a new recruit,” he said in a news conference last Wednesday.

He also said Dentsu and a company employee had been referred to prosecutors by the Japanese labour ministry’s Tokyo labour bureau on suspicion of violating labour standards law.

A Dentsu spokesman said it has not decided who will replace Ishii as president.

In December 2015, 24-year-old Japanese woman Matsuri Takahashi, who worked for the advertising agency’s digital account division, committed suicide after having logged around 105 hours of monthly overtime in October and experienced mental breakdown the following month.

The Mita Labor Standard Inspection Office in Tokyo ruled her suicide as “death by overwork” last year.

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