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Video: In Japan, this drone stops staff working overtime; curb 'karoshi'

With Japan's culture of overwork leading to health issues and even a spate of suicides, one company plans to use a drone to get staff to buzz off

Steven Millward | Tech in Asia 

Japanese are literally working themselves to death. According to its labour ministry report, overwork accounts for around 100 suicides per year. To curb that behaviour a firm is planning to use that want people to leave office. How? It will fly around the office blasting Auld Lang Syne to get employees to realize it’s time to go home. The system, developed by office security and cleaning firm Taisei and telecom giant NTT, will see drone patrolling the office.

It will hover over workers while playing a loud song. The music will not stop until everyone leaves. The drone is equipped with a camera to record what's happening and identify employees who remain in the office after standard work hours. The aim is to reduce Japan's long work hours that cause dozens of deaths per year. Workaholic Japan For workaholic Japan, one of the least crime-prone countries, the biggest killers include some of the nation’s most established corporations. It’s not guns or machetes that are the fatal weapons, but the strain of working too much. What SoftBank's $10b investment in Uber means for its battle with Ola ‘Karoshi’, a Japanese word that refers to the phenomenon of death by overwork, was coined as far back as the 1970s, and it’s still dominating the national headlines. The victims die from various illnesses, such as heart failure, exhaustion, stroke, starvation, or suicide as a result of work stress and depression.

First Published: Tue, December 19 2017. 13:29 IST