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Looking at the article, I find myself agreeing with a lot of the points presented.

There is defiantly a problem of stagnation in the workplace in Japan, especially in dynamic tech-based companies.

Generally the larger the company, the more lumbering they become.

I feel that this is mostly due to the fairly rigid seniority system that's instilled in Japanese culture (especially work culture). Like Patio11 often says, it's almost like it's anathema to think that someone under the age of 30 can have a good idea.

Most people in positions of rank in a company get there not because they're particularly gifted, but because they've been at the company the longest. This is not always the case -- but it is a rare sight to see a manager who's younger than their subordinates.

And generally, this has worked well for Japan. The young people come in, work their butts off to bring new ideas and energy into the company, present ideas to the older managers who then sends the good ones up top.

The managers don't work as hard as the younguns because they got finished with that 10-20 years ago. The younguns work hard because they know that in 10 years they will be able to relax more when they become a manager.

The problem is that with the current problems with social security, companies not paying retirement funds like they used to, and general suckiness of the economy, many young people no longer have confidence that their hard work will be rewarded with job security or a decent retirement.

Thus, many young people are starting to balk at the traditional Japanese working system, and while it is a slow movement, there are now a lot of more agile tech companies started by the younger generation. (One such great company is Messa Liberty in Osaka, which recently interviewed Patio11 in English and Japanese http://www.messaliberty.com/ )

I think that there is a chance that Japan will be able to spring back from this recession, and to be able to change their working style to more mesh with a technology-driven world.

If one thing I have learned in my many years here, it is that the Japanese are, if nothing else, incredibly adaptable.

Notes: For those who are wondering about the social security from companies, etc -- my father in law who worked at NTT (the phone company) for 40 years, and became a mid-level manager now receives more every month in retirement pay than I do working at my current job. However, that's a thing of times past, and my company (like many) have little to no retirement packages besides public social-security. And who knows where that'll be in 30 years when I need it.




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