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Asia Minute: Corporate Japan’s Holiday Advice

Hajime NAKANO / Flickr
Hajime NAKANO / Flickr

On this Christmas Eve and a week before New Year’s Eve, we are in the middle of the holiday celebration season.  From office parties to personal gatherings, that means a break from usual routines.  And in Japan, it’s the focus of some corporate attention.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

In many ways, Christmas is not that big of a deal in Japan…there are plenty of lights…Christmas eve is a big date night - but the country doesn’t have centuries of widespread Christian tradition.  New Year’s is another matter entirely.  And the end of the year period is a big time for office parties--“bonenkai”—or “forget the year parties”—to set the stage for a fresh new year.

This year, Daiwa Securities is reminding its nearly 14-thousand employees to eat and drink moderately---at least for a 30-day period that started last Monday.  Bloomberg reports the company suggests workers follow the “80-percent program”—stop eating when you’re 80-percent full.  The company provides other hints for eating well—and there are incentives.  Daiwa employees over the age of 45 who successfully complete the 30-day program can earn points…redeemable toward salary increases when they hit their fifties and sixties.

It’s all aimed at keeping workers healthy.  After all, this is the country where there’s a word for “death from overwork”—“karoshi.”  And Daiwa does have a vested interest in the outcome.  Nearly ten years ago the company raised its retirement age for retail brokers from 60 to 65.  Two years ago the company raised it again to age 70….and counting.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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