Consumers and companies across Japan enjoy a world where deliveries are often advertised as "free," and products are dropped to their door around the clock. But beyond this life of extreme convenience is another world, occupied by the truck drivers who work dangerously long hours for meagre pay, often putting their health on the line, and sometimes even risking their lives. Conditions are so bad that incidence of death from overwork are more than 10 times the level across all Japanese industries. Drivers say there's little they can do. They are squeezed between senders, who refuse higher delivery charges, and receivers, who also baulk at paying more. We surveyed some drivers about their working conditions, and asked experts how the industry can tackle this problem without bringing logistical operations to a shuddering halt.
Shuto Wakana (Professor, Rikkyo University)