Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who's Lazy Now? Nobody

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who's Lazy Now? Nobody

Article excerpt

FOR years Japanese workers have served as a model of industriousness for Americans. Many Japanese employees spend up to 13 hours a day on the job, and statistics show that half don't take their allotted vacation each year. So intense is the pace in what has been called a workaholic nation that more than 40 percent of Japanese "salarymen" have said they fear dying of overwork.

Now this hard-edged portrait of the Japanese worker is beginning to take on softer, more human dimensions. Reports from Tokyo claim that video arcades and pachinko parlors are crowded in mid-afternoon with "salarymen" enjoying a break from the job. Even workers who stay in the office reportedly find ample time to read newspapers and talk with co-workers.

The news may come as a relief to Americans, who have sometimes been made to feel that if they would just emulate the Japanese, who average 200 more hours on the job each year than Americans do, the United States would become more competitive. …

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