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Dentsu plans reassignments, hirings to ease overwork

Ad agency in 'karoshi' suicide seeks to improve conditions

TOKYO -- Dentsu will reassign 650 employees -- about one-tenth of its workforce -- to busier departments and increase mid-career hiring to try to relieve stressful work conditions brought to light by the death of a young staffer.

The leading Japanese advertising agency announced the changes Friday, the first round of measures combating overwork to come from an internal panel established Nov. 1.

The personnel reshuffling is meant to even out assignment loads and working hours across the organization. Employees will be transferred from sections where workloads are down. Dentsu also will aim for 60 mid-career hires starting this month, up from only 30 last year. The company will not set a limit on such hiring.

Dentsu has yet to decide which departments will get reinforcements or mid-career hires. Matsuri Takahashi, the 24-year-old new employee who took her life last December, worked in digital accounts. Her suicide was ruled work-related in September and has sparked a debate on karoshi, or death by overwork.

The eight-member reform panel, whose members include President Tadashi Ishii, will continue to examine workload and organizational issues at Dentsu.

Separately, the company in November lowered its in-house limit on monthly overtime to 65 hours from 70. An exception allowing overtime to exceed this cap temporarily was cut to 30 additional hours from 50.


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