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Yukio Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan swept to power last month with the promise to revive the nation’s moribund economy. One way to do so may be to stop people from working so hard.

Households have saved up about ¥1.41 quadrillion in financial assets, yet workers use less than half their paid holidays. Getting them to take all their time off would create 1.5 million jobs and pump ¥11.8 trillion a year into the economy, according to 2002 estimates by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

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