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Asia Insight

Japan kicks inefficient work habits as labor crunch worsens

Employers recognize lethally long hours and low productivity hold them back

AKANE OKUTSU and ERI SUGIURA, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Apparel company Sanyo Shokai suffered a crushing blow three years ago when it lost one of its main income sources: a contract to make and sell Burberry products in Japan. To recover, management cut payroll and shifted more resources to online sales. Then, last September, it instituted a program that reflects far broader changes now sweeping corporate Japan.

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