Vol.33-No.11 November 1,1994
The survey was taken in the January-February 1994 period in a questionnaire administered to 2,000 workers at firms in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka as well as 300 establishments in these areas. Replies were received from 60.9 percent of those workers and 56.3 percent of those estabishments.
Tokyo commuters spend an average of 74.5 minutes getting to work,while Nagoya counterparts spend 65.2 minutes and Osaka counterparts 69.8 minutes. Also, 46.5 percent of the respondents spend over 75 minutes and 25.9 percent over 90 minutes each way in commuting to and from work.
Thirty-two percent of the respondents said they "swayed back and forth with the train, with no freedom of movement, every time they were roughly jostled," which describes a train filled to 250 percent of the capacity. Twenty-nine point six percent noted they were "jammed together with other passengers but could read weekly magazines," indicating that the train is filled to 200 percent of the capacity. In total, over 60 percent of the respondents regularly use such crowded trains. Furthermore, about 70 percent complained of fatigue from commuting; 61.7 percent of the respondents "felt a little tired but not to a degree affecting their work," while 9.2 percent said they were "exhausted to such an extent as to affect their work."
Flexitime has been institutionalized at a little less than 40 percent of establishments. However, it does not seem to be utilized very much. Twenty-three point nine percent said the system is used once or twice and 28.2 percent noted it is not used at all. Reasons cited for failing to utilize flexitime efficiently include "to contact and coordinate with other divisions within the firm and have preparations" (47.2%), "to contact and coordinate within the workplace and have preparations" (44%) and "superiors and co-workers in the workplace are at work" (23.6%). Thus, it was clear that failure to utilize flexitime frequently was attributable to the intrafirm situation rather than the situation outside the company.
Also, he earlier suggested that the ministry would not authorize flight increase plans for airlines that failed to follow its administrative guidance against hiring contract cabin attendants. The issue of hiring contract cabin crew thus was held in suspense. Japan Airlines (JAL) reviewed its original plan to recruit contract flight attendants and decided to report to the ministry on it. JAL had planned to employ contract stewardesses on a one-year contract basis for a maximum of three years, but it revised part of its employment plan to win the Transport Ministry approval, giving the contract staff the option of becoming full-time flight attendants through a screening test after three years. Under the modified plan, JAL will not apply to contract attendants the age limit for regular attendants and will make contract staff eligible for promotion to full-time status in depending on job performance. The change also includes assuring contract workers a pay hike, twice-a-year bonuses, and lump-sum retirement allowance and a variety of insurance schemes, including health insurance, workers' accident compensatoin insurance, and accident compensation, that compare favorably to those for regular staff. The ministry accepted JAL' s modified plan.
Two other major carriers, All Nippon Airways and Japan Air System Co., also revised their plans. Meanwhile, Kamei retracted an earlier statement in which he said he would reject carriers' requests for increased flights. He valued the airlines firms' modified plans, but added that they should consider employment of stewardesses who protect the safety of passengers apart from restructuring efforts.
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