Labor law covers a great deal of territory, from wages, work hours, transfers and performance evaluation to dismissals, selling of business rights and industrial accidents. One subject often overlooked is break time or kyūkei. My labor law encyclopedia devotes far fewer pages to this subject than just about any other topic. It is, after all, labor law, not "rest law."

I knew one labor law scholar who chose kyūkei as the theme for several dissertations. When I asked him why, he said, "Because I like break time better than work time."

I understood what he meant completely. Breaks are better than work. Don't we all think so, deep in our hearts? Let's not kid ourselves.