Working to death in Japan: Health warning over ‘no overtime’ law


Japan’s push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country’s notoriously long working hours—“karoshi,” or death from overwork.

Teruyuki Yamashita knows the risks all too well. The now 53-year-old worked day and night in a senior sales job, made countless overseas business trips, and slept an average of just three hours a night.

Six years ago, his frantic work pace took a near fatal turn after he collapsed from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of brain bleeding, leading to three weeks in intensive care—and the loss of his sight.

“I told a nurse that it was dark—I didn’t realise that I was blind,” Yamashita said, recalling when he woke up in hospital.

Hundreds of deaths related to overwork—from strokes, heart attacks and suicide—are reported every year in Japan, along with a host of serious health problems, sparking lawsuits and calls to tackle the problem.

But, last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved a bill to exempt white-collar employees earning over 10.75 million yen a year, such as financial dealers and consultants, from work-hour rules.

His ruling Liberal Democratic Party hopes to get parliamentary approval during the current session.

Advocates, including Japan’s biggest business lobby Keidanren, say the changes would reward productive workers with pay based on merit—rather than just working hours—and give them more flexibility in terms of how long they spend at the office.

If they get the job done quickly, they could leave early or come in later, they say.

Backers also say the reforms would not force change on workers, but rather let them choose to enter such an agreement with their employers.

Critics charge it would be tough for employees to refuse an offer of switching to the new model, and deride it as the “no overtime pay bill” that would force people to work longer with no extra pay beyond their agreed salary.

That could increase the number of overwork-related deaths and health problems, said Koji Morioka, professor emeritus at Kwansei Gakuin University.

“The government wants to create a system in which companies don’t have to pay for overtime—it could accelerate deaths from overwork,” he said.

Morioka added that the bill seemed to run counter to the spirit of a law passed last summer aimed at preventing deaths from long working hours, which garnered wide support across party lines. Details of the bill are being worked out now.

The new law, if passed, would initially affect just four percent of private-sector employees, or about 1.8 million people.

But Keidanren already wants to expand the program by lowering the pay threshold.

“We need to think about relaxing the income requirement and applying it to a wider scope of workers,” the business lobby’s chief said last month.

While the popular image of Japanese salarymen toiling long hours for the company before taking the last train home is changing, many still spend far more hours in the office than counterparts in other modern economies.

About 22.3% of Japanese employees work 50 hours or more each week on average, well above 12.7% in Britain, 11.3 percent in the United States, and 8.2% in France, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A Japanese government study found that 16% of full-time workers took no paid holidays in 2013, while others took just half their allotted vacation on average.

In that year, the official tally was 196 deaths and suicides linked to excessive working hours—but that is just the tip of the iceberg, said Ryukoku University professor Shigeru Waki.

“There are a lot more people who died or became ill due to overwork, but it is very hard to prove,” he said.

With more employers not required to keep track of extra hours worked under the proposed bill, it will make it even tougher to know the extent of the problem, Waki said.

The mother of a 27-year-old Tokyo man who killed himself in 2009 said his official work hours were much less than the actual extra hours spent at his printing company. She opposes the new bill.

“I was in a state of shock when his company called to tell me he was dead,” said the 68-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified.

“My son will not come back, but I want to speak up for other younger people.”

For Yamashita, who was blinded by his condition, burning the candle at both ends to meet the demands of a high-pressure job was hardly worth the reward.

“I didn’t even get to see my kids grow up because I was too busy—I wish I could have lived a life for my family instead.”

© 2015 AFP

First Nations leader: Idle No More in the minority

Ernie Crey of the North West Indigenous Council talks to Ezra Levant of about the need for First Nations people to participate in all aspects of Canadian life.

Crey says that militant aboriginal groups like Idle No More represent “a fraction of one percent” of Canada’s almost one million First Nations people. Most, he says, want a share in “the good life.”

N.C. Schools Employ Radical Lesbian Who Called Marriage ‘Slavery’ for Women

A pioneering lesbian activist who called heterosexuality “the ideology of male supremacy” and condemned marriage as “slavery” for women is now working as a math teacher in North Carolina.

As a graduate student in 1969, Margaret Small helped begin what became the Women’s Studies program at the State University of New York’s Buffalo campus and in 1972 co-taught a course called “Lesbianism 101″ recognized as the first such class taught in the United States. Since 2009, Small has been employed as a K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Specialist for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, N.C., according to her LinkedIn profile. However, in the 1970s, she was a member of a radical lesbian collective known as The Furies, co-founded by legendary feminist Charlotte Bunch. Small’s 1975 essay “Lesbians and the Class Position of Women” offered a Marxist interpretation of “lesbian consciousness” as part of a “revolutionary struggle” to end women’s “oppression” in the “relationship of slavery,” as she called marriage.

“Women’s oppression is based in the fact that she reproduces the species,” Small wrote in the essay, published in Lesbianism and the Women’s Movement, a book co-edited by Bunch and Nancy Myron. “The relationship of men to reproduction is defined by a single act of fucking at the moment of impregnation and ends at that point.”

Invoking the historical theories of Friedrich Engels (colleague of Karl Marx and co-author of the 1848 “Communist Manifesto”), Small declared: “Class society arose because of the oppression of women. . . . The exploitation of all women by all men made possible the exploitation of some men by other men. The more exploitative the relationship between men and women becomes, the stronger and more vital become the institutions of male supremacy.”

After getting her master’s degree from SUNY-Buffalo in 1973 Small “worked for 8 years as a machinist, first in a shipyard in San Diego and then at several manufacturing plants in Chicago,” before returning to school at the University of Illinois-Chicago, according to an online profile. She became a math teacher in Chicago public schools, got her PhD. and, in 2000, became “a founding Director of the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago (YWLCS),” the only all-girls public school in Chicago. Small moved to North Carolina in 2009 and, in 2013, married her lesbian partner Peggy Baker. Also a former YWLCS teacher, Baker runs an education non-profit, EASL Institute, whose clients include schools in North Carolina, New York and Chicago.

Margaret Small’s pioneering work in the feminist movement has been recognized in numerous books, including Breaking the Wave: Women, Their Organizations, and Feminism, 1945-1985, edited by Kathleen Laughlin and Jacqueline Castledine (2010), and the Historical Dictionary of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movements, by JoAnne Myers (2013). Her role in teaching the first lesbian university course (along withMadeline Davis) was cited as No. 10 on a list of “20 Notable College Moments in LGBT History” by Best Colleges Online.

Small’s 1975 essay condemning marriage and heterosexuality has been cited in such books as Separatism and Women’s Community by Dana Shugar and The Invention of Heterosexuality by Jonathan Katz. The essay was adapted from a speech Small gave to the Wasington, D.C., think tank Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) on behalf of The Furies.

“In terms of the oppression of women, heterosexuality is the ideology of male supremacy,” Small wrote. “In order for men to have a justification for exploiting women and an ability to enforce that exploitation, heterosexuality has to become, not merely an act in relation to impregnation, but the dominant ideology.”

Under male supremacy, Small asserted, women “become defined as appendages to men” in a system “which maintains the ideological power of men over women.” Small’s article (the full text of which is embedded below) declares: “Heterosexual hegemony insures that people think it natural that male and female form a life-long sexual/reproductive unit with the female belonging to the male.”

Lesbians, Small wrote, were crucial to “the development of revolutionary consciousness” because they are “outside of the reality which heterosexual ideology explains.” Heterosexuality would become “irrelevant” as alternatives to sexual reproduction were developed.

“Male supremacy is what is attacked in lesbian ideology,” Small wrote. “What we are doing in revolutionary struggle is to make our consciousnesses different. When enough people’s consciousnesses are different, then we make a revolution.”

The Furies collective, which Small represented in her speech at IPS, was formed by Bunch and others in 1971, and announced its revolutionary feminist goals in early 1972. Bunch’s manifesto, “Lesbians in Revolt,” is included in many university Women’s Studies textbooks and curricula.Bunch became a distinguished academic at Rutgers University and in 1999 was honored with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by President Bill Clinton. (Click here to see C-SPAN video of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the December 1999 ceremony.)

Lesbian Margaret Small 1975 by himself2462

John Hoge and Jeanette Runyon assisted in the research for this article, which is part of the Sex Trouble project that has been supported by contributions from readers. The first edition of Sex Trouble: Radical Feminism and the War on Human Nature is available from, $11.96 in paperback or $1.99 in Kindle ebook format.

Is Taylor Swift A Misogynist? Just Look At The Liner Notes

In a recent interview with Maxim Magazine, Taylor Swift gave a strong endorsement for feminism:

“Honestly, I didn’t have an accurate definition of feminism when I was younger. I didn’t quite see all the ways that feminism is vital to growing up in the world we live in. I think that when I used to say, Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar, it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman. Or the double standards in headlines, the double standards in the way stories are told, the double standards in the way things are perceived. A man writing about his feelings from a vulnerable place is brave; a woman writing about her feelings from a vulnerable place is oversharing or whining. Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.”

What a strong voice for women! As the most powerful person in pop , the 6th most powerful leader in the world, she is highly respected—many industry leaders have lauded her as a genius. Taylor is really leading the way to empowering, women right? The dirty truth is her feminist rhetoric is hollow and disingenuous because…

Taylor Swift hires almost exclusively men to make her music.

Let’s take a look at the production credits for her latest album 1989.

Executive Producer: Max Martin

82% of musicians Taylor hired to make 1989 were men. Only 18% women.

Her how about her earlier album Speak Now?

A staggering 88% of her production staff were men, only 12% were women.

I guess feminism isn’t so “vital” in the production of Taylor’s records, eh? So long as women buy her records she can let the professionals (men) handle the technical details. This is blatant hypocrisy, as Taylor Swift has voraciously espoused women’s rights over the loudspeaker.

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” –Taylor Swift, 2013.

Maybe I’m just cherry-picking faults. Since Taylor believes women are as smart as men, SURELY some of her other albums featured women in prominent roles… right?

Nope. I looked. It almost seems like Taylor doesn’t trust female producers to work on her albums. Every single executive producer has been a man, with four out of five other roles also going to men.

Her actions are very different from what she preaches to her fans. If we look deeper into her music videos, the hypocrisy becomes even more apparent.

That’s 100% male directors for her music videos. 32 for 32. Who is the one holding back women now? If Taylor Swift was a college (or any other organization), there’d be widespread protests of sexism and misogyny.

If a woman worth $200,000,000 won’t hire a female director, who will?  The fact that she can rationalize this in her mind shows how delusional her thinking is.

You might say “well those men didn’t have to deal with the adversity and sexism normal women have to deal with!” The reality is that  the upper echelon of music production talent is mostly men. Only 5% of working music producers are women. Men have dominated innovation and creativity for ages.

Take for example Buddy Bolden, who innovated an entirely new form of music in 1901.


Of course, when Taylor was talking about double standards, she wasn’t talking about the music industry alone, but everyday life as well. So according to Taylor, it’s very important that we hold men and women to the same standard.

When we see what recently occurred between a horrible crime committed by Josh Duggar from TLC’s popular “19 Kids And Counting,” and Lena Dunham gleefully admitting to the same crime in her book about how she abused her sister.


Apparently this double standard in societal perception doesn’t seem to bother Taylor at all.

Judging by her actions, I can only conclude Taylor is a misogynist herself and doesn’t believe any of the shit she says about women being equal, since she clearly only trusts men to make her albums and music videos. You think she could delay an album release to give a woman producer maternity leave? Fuck no, it’s serious business and she knows that reality.

The musical integrity of her albums is too important to be entrusted to a woman, just like her safety is only entrusted to a male bodyguard. Feminist rhetoric carries little weight in the real world when her livelihood and safety are on the line.

I don’t really blame her, the music industry is dying and she’s under enormous pressure to capitalize on her window of fame as much as she can. One bad album could ruin her career so it’s important she works with only the best musicians (men). Like Silicon Valley is filled with men who dropped out of school and innovated amazing companies, the best musicians who can create complex, catchy arrangements are also mostly men.

Therefore I completely agree with her strategy, as ROK recognizes that men and women have very different abilities. It’s in her interest to have her cake and eat it too (work with top level men, yet publicly talk about empowering women), it gives her additional publicity and her gullible fans eat it up.

Like other privileged white women, Taylor can live like a princess but gain liberal street credibility by playing the “victim” card to pretend she can relate to her naïve fans. This is why we don’t take feminism seriously, and view them like the delusional children that they are. Everything in Taylor’s life involves men helping her, or building something for her, yet she complains how men are magically holding her back.

Next time Taylor Swift lectures you on treating women equally in your life, or how vital women are in the world, just ask her why she only trusts men to handle the important functions in her life.

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Wants To Censor Your Opinions

Ellen Pao, the woman who was once Reddit’s business and partnerships strategist, appears to have some serious problems with the idea of free speech.

Ms. Pao, who has been the interim CEO of the social news hub and media site since (male) former CEO Yishan Wong stepped down late last year (over what, as far as anyone can tell, amounts to a disagreement over carpets and drapes… in an office space) is no stranger to the notion of using every means at her disposal to squash the opinions of those with whom she disagrees. As noted by Return of Kings columnist Blair Naso earlier this year, Ms. Pao filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, noted venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, on the grounds that KPCB had passed her over for promotion based on her gender, rather than her job performance.

As Breitbart’s resident undeniably fabulous homosexual (and friend of GamerGate) Milo Yannopolous noted, Ms. Pao was lauded far and wide by the mainstream media as a feminist icon for taking a “courageous” stand against gender discrimination in the all-boys-club that is supposedly the world of Silicon Valley start-ups, tech companies, and venture capitalist firms.

This, despite losing badly and thoroughly in what was most assuredly one of the leastworthy sexual discrimination lawsuits in recent memory.

Not satisfied with making herself look silly in public, Ms. Pao now appears to be willing to drive a sizable chunk of Reddit’s roughly 100 million-strong subscriber base away with poorly defined, unenforceable, and vague rules about “harassment” and “safe spaces.”


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