Millennium Post

Workaholic Japs to be made to take off-days legally!

College-educated and gainfully employed 36-year-old Eriko Sekiguchi should be a sought after friend or date, planning nights on the town and faraway resort vacations. But she works in Japan, a nation where workaholic habits die hard.

Often toiling 14 hours a day for a major trading company, including early morning meetings and after-hours “settai,” or networking with clients, she used just eight of her 20 paid vacation days last year. Six of those days were for being sick.

“Nobody else uses their vacation days,” said Sekiguchi, who was so busy that her interview with The Associated Press had to be rescheduled several times before she could pop out of the office. The government wants to change all that. Legislation that will be submitted during the parliamentary session that began on January 26 aims to ensure workers get the rest they need. In a break with past practice, it will become the legal responsibility of employers to ensure workers take their holidays.

Japan has been studying such legislation for years. There has been more impetus for change since 2012 as a consensus developed that health, social and productivity costs of Japan’s extreme work ethic were too high.


Our contributor helps bringing the latest updates to you

Share it