Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) gave a female reporter a special award for doing a good job when she was already dead from overwork after putting in almost 400 hours overtime in two months, the woman's grieving mother said Nov. 8.

Emiko Sado said that after 31-year-old Miwa Sado had died from heart failure she received a special award from NHK's news bureau chief for helping to accurately and quickly project the results of two elections.

“It would be fine if the award is for her contribution to saving human lives in a natural disaster or accident. But when I think that she did more than 200 hours overtime and died for the purpose of just projecting the election results as early as possible, I can’t hold back my anger coming up,” said Sado, 68, at a symposium hosted in Tokyo by the labor ministry to prevent death from overwork, or “karoshi.”

Miwa's body was found at her apartment on July 25, 2013, with her cellphone clutched in her hand. It was just days after the Upper House election. Labor authorities ruled in 2014 that she had died from overwork.

Sado said her daughter worked 209 hours of overtime in the month before her death when she reported on the Upper House election, following on from 188 hours the month before when she was covering the Tokyo metropolitan assembly poll.

The extent of her mammoth overtime emerged after her cellphone records, taxi receipts and other records were checked and the information found used to claim compensation from labor authorities.

“I feel deep regret that I could not protect her as a parent and I blame myself. I still struggle now,” said Sado, fighting to hold back tears during her speech.

Sado described how her eldest daughter worked every day until late at night and was not given weekends off.

“My husband cried when he saw her work records from her workplace,” she said.

The couple heard about their daughter’s death on July 25, 2013, in Sao Paulo, where they were living at the time.

“I didn’t know the situation and the cause of her death. I became frantic, and my husband dragged me to the airport and we went back to Japan two days later."

Sado strongly denounced NHK for not paying enough attention to her daughter's overwork in the compamy. “Only by conducting their own investigation and deeply regretting this death from overwork will any working environment reform be conducted,” she said.

“I will keep my eyes on steps (NHK) takes to prevent a recurrence and to promote reform,” she said.

“I will never forget Miwa’s scent and the warmth of her body. I am sincerely hoping that this kind of thing will never happen again,” the mother added.