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A majority of people in Japan are turning down calls from their superiors or clients for drinking together, a private-sector survey showed.

The survey showed that 70.3% of respondents said they turn down such calls from their superiors while 60.2% answered they refuse invitations from clients.

Research firms that carried out the survey said the spread of remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic made it easier to decline such invitations.

The online survey was conducted on March 15-19 jointly by Nexer Inc.’s research arm and Diamond Online, a website run by publisher Diamond Inc., targeting 1,020 people between their 20s and 70s.

The survey showed that 14.3% of respondents answered they reject superiors’ calls for drinking together in a determined manner and that 56.0% said they say no in an apologetic tone. Meanwhile, 12.5% said they agree with an air of reluctance.

It showed 78.0% believe it is up to each individual to decide whether to accept calls from superiors for drinking together, while 22.0% said it is necessary to say yes all the time or to a certain degree.

Asked about feelings toward superiors and clients who frequently ask for drinking together, 37.5% said they are uncomfortable with losing their private time, accounting for the largest portion of all respondents.

This was followed by 24.0% of respondents who said they are not uncomfortable with attending drinking parties as part of their jobs.

“Young employees generally don’t like drinking together with superiors or colleagues. The pandemic apparently gave them good reasons to decline such invitations,” Nexer Inc.’s research arm said.

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