The other day I had a chance to moderate a symposium at the Swedish Embassy that was attended by Sweden's Minister for Employment, Ylva Johansson, on the theme of "the future of work styles and gender equality." During this event, the ambassador of Sweden referred to furaryman.

Furaryman is a phenomenon recently taken up in an NHK feature program. The term — a coinage from salaryman and the Japanese word "fura fura" describing the way people hang around without purpose — refers to male company employees who, even though their overtime work has been slashed due to work-style reforms, do not go straight home and instead hang out in Tokyo's entertainment/drinking areas like Shinbashi.

Among Japan's typical company employees, there is no custom of dining with their family at home in the early evening hours of weekdays.