In Japan you can nap during work and nobody would care. Yes, it is socially acceptable to sleep at work. In a country where there is also a word for working oneself to death (karōshi) you can see how they might let a little nap slide.

The land of the rising sun, Japan, is a country which stands out due its social and economical stability. The first word that pops up in our mind when thinking about Japan is development. This country has miraculously exceeded the standards of living more than any other nation could. The key to such a progressive county are its hard-working citizens. The people over there have knack for working tirelessly every day. A study found out that Japanese workers on average didn’t use 10 of their paid vacation days, and 63 percent of Japanese respondents felt guilty for taking paid leave.

In 2016, a new holiday “Mountain Day” was started, bringing Japan’s number of annual public holidays to 16. My curiosity in this topic aroused when I watched a YouTube clip of talk show-host Conan doing a comedy bit in Japan in which he rents himself a family. Yes you heard that right, in Japan there are actually services that provide you with temporary families. The Government has taken such initiations keeping in mind the deprivation of social and personal life among the citizens. (Due to more of office-work)

Both Japan’s government and its companies say they’re now actively endeavoring to reduce working hours throughout Japan.

In 2015, the government launched an initiative called Premium Fridays, in which it encouraged companies to allow their employees to leave at 3 p.m. on the last Friday of the month. But later a study found that not even 4 percent of employees in Japan actually left early on the first Premium Friday! Only if this rule was applied in India that percentage would have easily been 100.

But again, not advantaging of such a rule isn’t quite smart; this only makes me think what compels these people to overwork to this extent. How can such a culturally bright nation be only confined to office work for a good portion of working adults.

The prime reason for this is the excessive sense of competition in society there. Salaried workers feel pressure to work harder and put in more hours just to safeguard their positions.

Depression due to overworking has become the major cause of suicides in Japan. I think that development should not come at the cost of depriving people of happiness. The government understands this as well and thus is taking more and more measures lately.