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Business trends

Stop logging hours: Japan finds flexibility in age of telework

Coronavirus adaptions succeed where government failed in promoting work reform

Bans on extended hours for people who work from home have led to rampant unreported and unpaid overtime. (Photo by Ken Furusawa)

TOKYO/OSAKA -- Japan's IT companies are notorious for working long hours. Fujitsu headquarters in Tokyo was famously known as the "castle that never sleeps" during the heyday of Japan's bubble economy two decades ago. Working overtime was contagious, and it was difficult to be that one person in the office who left early.

It was the same for one of its group companies, Tsuzuki Denki, an IT solutions provider. A while back, the company designated Wednesday as the day that staff should go home early. A company announcement would be made in the afternoon, only to be ignored by everyone, who kept their eyes locked on their computer screens.

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