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Do people work too hard in Japan?

by Stephanie Hannon

Kay Rahden
Employee, 29 (German)
The German firm I work for discourages overtime. Up to 20 hours a month paid overtime is allowed. I think Japanese are encouraged to work as long as possible rather than quickly and effectively.

Masahiro Takeshima
PR Account Executive, 28
I work up to seven hours unpaid overtime a day. As part of your duty to a company and society, it’s expected. It’s been part of our culture since our parents worked long hours to rebuild Japan after the war.

Momoko Yashiro
Housewife, 25
My brother-in-law works about 13 hours a day. Stress from overwork and lack of sleep have caused him to suffer hearing problems and headaches. As he is well-paid, he isn’t likely to leave the job.

Kenta Kawamura
Finance, 24
I am against the government’s plans to exempt senior white-collar workers from revised overtime regulations. As I work for a U.S. company, this will not affect me now but it might in the future.