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Japan

Teleworking In Japan: Antidote For An Overworked Nation

Japan's Senate passed a reform bill in June modifying the regulation of the workplace, and promoting new ways for employees to work. But things were already changing.

Japanese companies are increasingly letting employees work from home
Japanese companies are increasingly letting employees work from home
Kondo Daisuke

TOKYO — Japan has long been notorious for its culture of overworking. An OECD survey shows, as of 2017, a person in Japan worked an average of 1,710 hours annually, compared with 1,681 hours in the UK, 1,514 in France and 1,356 hours in Germany. In recent years, cases involving death caused by overwork, called by the special term "karoshi" in Japanese, as well as other serious health-related consequences, have gotten more and more public attention.

The Shinzo Abe government has established new labor standards that subject companies to penalties if they exceed caps for working overtime. From next April, when the new bill comes into effect, limits on Japanese workers' overtime will be set at 45 hours per month and 360 hours per year.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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