Wednesday, January 24, 2018

In Japan, Even Panda Cub Works Overtime


Panda Xiang Xiang plays at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo   

By Asia Pop Culture

Japan has a culture of long working hours and it was first recorded in the 1960s.  As BBC reports, a recent survey has found nearly a quarter of Japanese companies have employees working more than 80 hours overtime a month....often unpaid, and 12% have employees breaking the 100 hours a month.

It looks like that work culture has extended from human to the animal kingdom as well.  SCMP reports Tokyo’s new panda cub Xiang Xiang is working extra hours from Tuesday, Jan. 23.   
Ueno zoo’s first baby panda since 1988 will be on display for an extra two hours every day until the end of January and working a full seven-hour day from February to cater to the thousands of fans of the cuddly celebrity 
The seven-month old Xiang Xiang has attracted major media attention since her first public appearance in December.  According to this new "work schedule", Xiang Xiang will be on display for five hours a day through the end of January.  Then the hours will be extended to a full seven-hour day from February so the zoo may accommodate up to 9,500 visitors of the curious cub.

To avoid congestion, each visitor is limited to two minutes to observe the cub.  Meanwhile, there's no time limits to see Xiang Xiang’s father Ri Ri in the neighboring enclosure.  Some visitors at the zoo reportedly were not sure whether the baby panda not even a year old could handle the grown-up working hours.  It remains to be seen how the baby panda would handle the stress of so many visitors in an enclosed environment.

In the traditional Japanese culture, a worker leaving office before colleagues and/or boss would cast a very negative light on that employee at work place.  Japanese government has been under increasing pressure to implement certain legal and regulatory measures, but decades of tradition is very difficult to break.  That in turn has largely contributed to the factor that Japan has some of the longest working hours in the world leading to a high mortality rate among young Japanese workers. 

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