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TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The head of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc.admitted Friday to the company's labor practice violations in a trial held at a Tokyo court following the high-profile suicide of a new recruit due to excessive working hours.

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Dentsu President Toshihiro Yamamoto also apologized for the death of 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi in December 2015, saying, "I offer my heartfelt apology for the loss of a precious life. My biggest responsibility is to ensure such an incident is never repeated."

Takahashi's suicide just months after she entered Dentsu sparked a national debate over the excessive overtime hours many Japanese workers endure and had a major impact on the government's initiative to improve working conditions.

Dentsu President Toshihiro Yamamoto

According to the indictment, between October and December 2015 Dentsu made Takahashi and three other employees illegally work between 3 hours and 30 minutes and 19 hours and 23 minutes more than the monthly overtime limit of 50 hours allowed under a labor-management agreement.

Prosecutors demanded Dentsu be fined 500,000 yen ($4,475), saying the ad giant "put priority on securing profits and did not heed the physical and mental health of workers."

They said more than 100 employees were working hours in excess of the labor-management agreement every month in 2015, noting that the company failed to drastically reform its practices despite admonishment by labor authorities and that the amount of work remained unchanged.

Takahashi's mother Yukimi, 54, attended the trial at the Tokyo Summary Court, which concluded the same day. The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling on Oct. 6.

In the case investigated by the Tokyo Labor Bureau's special squad that handles serious violations, three Dentsu executives and three officials from its branch offices were refereed to prosecutors.

The prosecutors later suspended their indictment, and instead summarily indicted Dentsu as a company, saying the matter related more to corporate practices and that individual executives cannot be heavily blamed in the case.

But the court said the summary order, which is issued without an open trial in simplified criminal proceedings, was inadequate and instead decided to try Dentsu in an open session.

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