When the interests of business harms society

An interesting article in The Guardian the other day outlines how the Japanese government is telling workers to take time off work - for the sake of the nation.

Indeed, evidence of why the Japanese government is so concerned is that overwork is one of the most commonly cited reasons why young Japanese couples shy away from having children. The article goes on to claim that the Japanese government is considering laws compelling firms to take their due holidays, which incidentally average around 18 days per year (average for France 39 days, UK average 23 days, USA 12 days).

The end part of the article mentions how Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world - "The "lost decade" of the recession-hit 1990s claimed not only business scalps, but also the lives of otherwise healthy men who keeled over prematurely in their prime through sheer overwork, prompting a spate of lawsuits by their widows against their husbands' corporate "murderers"."

So it's not just the environment that big businesses are in the process of destroying. See Japan to tell its workers: take time off - for the sake of the nation, by Justin McCurry, for more chilling details.

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