Japanese workers ranked the lowest in using paid vacation days and had the highest ratio of those who felt guilty doing so, according to an annual survey of workers from around the world.

A survey released Monday by the Japan arm of the online travel agent Expedia.com showed that Japanese only used 50 percent of their vacation days owed, placing them at the bottom of the list for the second consecutive year. It also showed that 63 percent of Japanese felt guilty for taking paid leave, ranking first among the 15,081 respondents aged 18 and older. Workers from 30 countries responded to the survey, conducted from Sept. 4 to 15.

The results are a somber reminder of how efforts by the government and the corporate sector to re-examine Japan's notoriously rigid working culture may have some way to go. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for reforming the nation's employment practices, targeting long working hours and the wage gap between regular and nonregular workers.