I think if you want to know why Japanese work hard and long, you can think why Western countries don't have to work hard. Why can Western countries still keep good economy nevertheless less work? Because of efficient work?? What is major industry in Western major countries? Car industry? Why are there so many wars in the world? What is that for? Even though USA president says to prohibit the possession of guns, he cannot still do it. Why? What is difference between Western major countries and Japan?
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I have been working at European company in Europe now. I have worked in Germany, Sweden and many countries in the world. Of course I have worked at typical Japanese companies as well. People in Europe usually talk about efficiency to compare. I agree efficiency is a part of factor why Japanese works long time. However from my experience, Japanese efficiency is not so bad in total. I think the efficiency perspective is just different between Europe and Japan. Every country has good side and bad side. At least quite many European companies integrate Toyota Kanban system to improve efficiency. If I only think about efficiency, I cannot explain why Japanese need to work a lot and long time, but Japanese economy is still not good. Of course efficiency and culture are parts of the factors.
However I feel another main factor exists behind, from my work experience in both Europe and Japan. I think it is related with Japanese position in the world and foreign diplomacy. What do Japanese work hard and long time for? Why did Japanese economy suddenly go down 20 years ago? What was root cause of current Japanese economic depression? Because did Japanese start to work inefficiently?
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