TOKYO -- For decades, Japan's office workers have endured overcrowded trains, subordination to senior colleagues and pay unrelated to performance. Workplaces around the country tend to share a drab formula: white walls, gray carpeting and no-frills desks.
All of that may be about to change. Japanese companies are increasingly catering to the preferences of a younger set known as Generation Y, or millennials. Born between 1983 and 1995, according to some definitions, these workers wield more leverage than their predecessors for a simple reason: They are relatively scarce in Japan.