“The most memorable Japan news events of 2017” as chosen by English-language instructors from AEON Ltd. “Overworked Japan slowly adopting fixed rest hours” wins first prize

English conversation school AEON Ltd., (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Representative: Yoshikazu Miyake) conducted a survey of 511 of its English-language instructors on “the most memorable Japan news events of 2017.”
For this project, AEON’s English instructors chose and ranked a total of 30 stories – in the categories of politics, business, society, life, culture and sports – that had attracted a large volume of page views on the website (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/) of The Japan Times (Minato-ku, Tokyo. Representative: Takeharu Tsutsumi). This survey is the first of its kind for AEON.
The survey results highlighted stories of strong social significance and the wide range of news that can be read in The Japan Times, the country’s oldest English-language newspaper. Topics ranged from Japan’s “work style reform” to symbols of the future, such as robot-run hotels, to the birth of pandas.
The compiled findings are as follows:

Topics

■ The topic most popular with AEON teachers was “improvement in working style.”

1. Overworked Japan slowly adopting fixed rest hours to put an end to ‘karoshi’ 93 Votes
2. ‘Strange’ hotel, run by robots, opens near Tokyo; more to come 41 Votes
3. Giant panda Shin Shin gives birth to cub – and hope – at Ueno Zoo 35 Votes
4. Diet enacts abdication law for Emperor Akihito 31 Votes
5. Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor, set to marry ex-classmate 30 Votes
6. Coming of age – Japan’s shifting definition of adulthood 25 Votes
6. Abe declares 2020 as goal for new Constitution 25 Votes
8. Giant tortoise on the run no more 22 Votes
8. Osaka court rules tattoo artist’s work violated medical law, was not art or expression 22 Votes
10. TV presenter Mao Kobayashi, 34, dies after battle with breast cancer 20 Votes


The article with the headline “Overworked Japan slowly adopting fixed rest hours to put an end to ‘karoshi’” ranked No. 1 with 93 votes. It is significant that the Japanese term karoshi, which means “death from overwork,” is used in the story’s headline. The topic has been covered widely by the media and the Japanese government and corporations are finally addressing this problem with reforms aimed at creating improved working environments.

■ Other facets of Japan that ranked highly
Ranking at second place was the business article “‘Strange’ hotel, run by robots, opens near Tokyo; more to come,” which represents global interest in Japan’s cutting-edge technology and the possibility of a robot-centric future. In third place was “Giant panda Shin Shin gives birth to cub – and hope – at Ueno Zoo.” The fact that this made the top 10 illustrated the far-ranging popularity of pandas.

■ Survey outline
Survey participants: 511 English-language teachers working at AEON
Period: Nov. 13-22

Survey method: High-ranking articles on The Japan Times website that were published during the period of January-October 2017 were chosen from the categories of politics/business; social issues; and life, culture and sports. In total, 30 articles were chosen. Articles were rated for their level of impact and interest on a scale of 1-10.

〈Politics/business〉

1. Strange hotel run by robots opens near Tokyo
2. Koike’s camp clobbers Abe’s LDP in historic Tokyo assembly election
3. Abe’s kanji gaffe makes Twitter’s trend tally
4. Lawmaker Yamao resigns from the DP after alleged extramarital affair deepens opposition party’s crisis
5. Variety of discounts, perks in works for ‘Premium Friday’ launch
6. Kobe Steel scandal widens to 500 firms
7. New women-only capsule hotel to open in central Tokyo as firm sees strong demand
8. Koike announces Tsukiji relocation, plans to retain its ‘cultural legacy’
9. Abe gambles on snap election as Koike surprises with new party
10. Abe declares 2020 as goal for new Constitution

〈Social issues〉

1. Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor, set to marry ex-classmate
2. TV presenter Mao Kobayashi, 34, dies after battle with breast cancer
3. Giant tortoise on the run no more
4. Suit opens in Tokyo court over cervical cancer vaccine side effects
5. Osaka court rules tattoo artist’s work violated medical law, was not art or expression
6. Diet enacts abdication law for Emperor Akihito
7. Overworked Japan slowly adopting fixed rest hours to put an end to ‘karoshi’
8. Patent authority rules against Nintendo, lets go-kart firm keep MariCar trademark
9. In first, government and Tepco found liable for Fukushima disaster
10. Coming of age – Japan’s shifting definition of adulthood

〈Life/Culture/Sports〉

1. Anisakis infections from raw fish on rise, health ministry warns
2. Hanyu’s legend continues to grow with latest masterpiece
3. First permanent Sailor Moon store opens in Harajuku
4. Cherry blossoms get an early start in Tokyo despite chilly, wet weather
5. Popular manga ‘One Piece’ to be remade into live-action TV drama
6. Kisenosato becomes first Japanese-born yokozuna in almost two decade
7. Gundam’s 20-meter replacement statue unveiled in Odaiba
8. Three-year countdown to Tokyo 2020 Olympics begins with new song-and-dance routine
9. Giant panda Shin Shin gives birth to cub – and hope – at Ueno Zoo
10. Schools close, hospitals swell as influenza spikes

About The Japan Times: As the nation’s oldest English-language newspaper, with a history dating to 1897, The Japan Times is committed to providing news and analysis of the current state of events in Japan and the world through its reporting of the news about politics, business, culture, society and sports.

About Aeon: Since its founding in 1973, AEON has been a leader in providing high quality English education to enable Japanese people to develop language skills for international communication. AEON has developed original teaching methods and materials to meet the needs and goals of Japanese learners. AEON employs charismatic and skilled Japanese and foreign teachers, which enables us to provide effective lessons that makes use of all of our teachers’ unique strengths. By helping our students improve their communication skills while overcoming their weak points, AEON helps students achieve their goals such as mastering business English and earning English qualifications.

In order to create confidence in AEON with our students:
● Student tuition is placed in a trust fund upon enrollment.
● 99% of foreign teachers are hired from outside of Japan. After coming to Japan, they are all enrolled in Japanese Social Insurance.
● AEON owns and operates recruiting offices in North America which hire teachers exclusively for AEON.
● AEON is a member of the “Japan Association for the Promotion of Foreign Language Education” under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

AEON Corporation (Head office: Shinjuku, Tokyo, President: Yoshikazu Miyake) has 250 schools located in major cities across Japan that provide a solid curriculum and learning environment for students of all ages. AEON has over 100,000 students, 50% of which are children who will be the future of Japan.

Press-related enquiries:
The Japan Times Ltd.
Ms. Sasaki, Corporate Affairs Management
E-mail: pr@japantimes.co.jp

Survey-related enquiries:
AEON Ltd.
PR section: Morita・Ito・Tokunaga
E-mail: aeon-koho@corp.aeonet.co.jp


The press release may be downloaded in PDF format