Monday, January 26, 2009

Post No. 77b: Article of Interest from - Japan vs. America? Who Will Win

In recent weeks, there has been an extensive amount of discussion about whether workers, here in the United States, have become soft and complacent in their jobs. Additionally, during the coverage of the plight of the American automobile industry, much was made of the role of unions in years past.

The following article is entitled, "Workers Urged: Go Home and Multiply," and was written by CNN's Kyung Lah. It appeared today on

"TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Even before one reaches the front door of Canon's headquarters in Tokyo, one can sense the virtual stampede of employees pouring out of the building exactly at 5:30 p.m.

"In country where 12-hour workdays are common, the electronics giant has taken to letting its employees...


  1. Interesting that you picked up this article on Japanese life. Last week CNN, NPR and the BBC were all abuzz about the Sony layoffs. Seems even the 800 pound gorilla in the corner is finding it impossible to maintain their end of the social contract. That would be the unwritten contract of Japanese society that says you devote body and soul to the company and the company guarantees you a job for life.

    I'm aware of the low Japanese birthrate and all of the implications for the retirement future of those in the 20-55 age bracket. Grim. OTOH, a shrinking population may be just what this island nation needs long term. They don't have sufficient natural resources to support the population and as you can see you can't always rely on trade to make up the difference. Japan has been in a recession for 10 years. What should scare Americans is that they tried to stem the tide the way our government seems to think is the way to do it and they failed miserably to do so. Now they get the one two punch with the world wide recession. Their government threw money at it, bailed out a bunch of industries but in the end it was just so much wasted Yen.

  2. Yep. Not much that we can dispute in your comment, June. Last year, we viewed a news item that highlighted the same low birth rate issue in Western Europe, and its long term effects on society. Some have suggested that the reason that both American political parties have allowed significant illegal immigration into the U.S. is because of the desire to increase the number of babies born here. Apparently it not a goal which can be openly expressed, but one which underlies some of the decisions of our politicians, according to some.


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