Gov't considers setting clock ahead by two hours

TOKYO —

As a native of the United States, I’m all too familiar with the controversy around daylight savings time. I’m not sure if anyone actually “loves” it, but it certainly seems like most people hate it. WebMD, the Internet’s favorite doctor, even has an article about the effects the time change has on people’s health, though they seem minimal.

Either way, one of my favorite things about living in Japan is not having to worry about that annual spring torture of moving the clocks ahead by an hour. With no daylight savings, you always know what time it is in Japan. Unfortunately, it looks like one Japanese politician has it out for me and my beauty sleep.

However, Tokyo Gov Naoki Inose suggested this week that Japan move its “standard time” ahead by two hours.

As inhumane as that sounds to this already sleep-deprived, non-morning-person, there is at least a rather logical reason for his suggestion. In an effort to position more financial institutions in Japan, he wants to have the Tokyo financial markets opening first in the world. (Australia seems to have the number one spot now.)

Inose’s suggestion will be taken into consideration in June as part of the government’s growth strategy.

It is interesting to note that Japanese standard time hasn’t changed in over 125 years, since it was established in 1886.

Singapore, on the other hand, followed Malaysia in 1982, and unified their national standard time, in addition to moving it forward 30 minutes. The governor seems to have drawn inspiration from their change.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News

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  • 1

    Vernie Jefferies

    Wow 2 hours is a big jump. I rather enjoy the sunrise at 4 am.

  • 6

    SimondB

    It is a good move and well overdue. Japan's clock is out of kilter with surrounding countries. Just check what the time is in Korea and East Russia at this moment compared to japan. And they are west of Japan. Great idea, but I'll bet donots to dollars this will not happen in my lifetime. Discussions about Daylight Saving have been going on for as long as I have known. Best hope is that the world will shift slightly on its axis otherwise continue to see the sun set at 7 in the middle of summer and rise (along with the crows) at 4.

  • 3

    sakurala

    I would be so happy for a one hour change! 5 is a decent time for the sun to rise and it would only bump the summer fireworks starting times up to 9 or 9:30. 2 hours might be a bit of a stretch though...

  • 0

    SquidBert

    SimonDB, I think you misunderstood, he want to move Japan forward, not back, from military '(I)India' (UTC+09) to the military 'Lima' (UTC+11) in order to beat the Australians to the stock market punch.

  • 6

    TravelingSales

    They're talking about changing standard time, not introducing daylight saving. The reporter has not followed the concept.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Once again a loco politician, excuse me local politician, is attempting to set "state" standards and policy. He can talk all he wants but if any changes are to be made it's the national government that needs to institute them and carry them out.

    As it is the country, from the "far" east in Hokkaido to the furthest western point in Yonaguni are already one off and if this change came into effect it would for all intents and purposes be nearly a three hour change for parts of Okinawa.

    Japan is stuck into one time zone for the convenience of the country as a whole, but two hours seems a bit much imo.

  • 4

    SquidBert

    Perhaps it would be easier and cheaper to just open the stock market/ financial institutes two hours earlier instead? Just cut down a bit on the sake drinking in the night time and it shouldn't be so hard.

  • 7

    sengoku38

    It would be great to have the sun go up at 6 am instead of 4 am. Should save a lot of electricity.

  • 0

    SquidBert

    Well I don't know , you would have the problem in the evenings instead. LMT for Tokyo is 09:18, so the +09:00 UTC seems rather appropriate if you want to keep a single time zone for the whole nation.

    Summer/Winter time is a whole other discussion.

  • 7

    Harry_Gatto

    This comes around every few years and goes precisely nowhere. JST needs to be shifted one hour forward permanently plus one hour DST in the summer but it's never going to happen.

  • -1

    gaijinfo

    Please don't mess with Japan's special unique time zone.

  • -2

    kurisupisu

    Changing clock time...s zzzzzzzzz.....

  • 5

    Himajin

    The effects health? Of losing an hour of sleep once a year? Try jet lag from a 13 hour trip....on a separate note, it makes me laugh in the US when I'm at a conference and someone complains about jet lag when they're two time zones away from the conference venue...

  • -4

    CraigHicks

    How stupid. In Winter, the sun would be going down at 3:00 pm, and people would be sleeping through the valuable sunshine hours. DUH ... why doesn't the stock exchange and those who are associated with it just change working hours and leave people who actually contribute to society in peace.

  • -8

    CGB Spender

    This Inose guy seems not to be a good choice after all! First the gaffe, now nonsense ideas about DST! Bring back Ishihara as Tokyo gov! At least he hadn't such ideas.

  • 4

    ambrosia

    Well, Mr. Phro, I love Daylight Savings Time. I love not having the sun shining at full blast at 4:30 in the morning. I love being able to play a round of golf, game of softball, go to the beach, have a barbecue, go for a long bike ride and best of all, get out of work, all while the sun is still shining. For people who live in areas with long winters, DST is a something many of us look forward to immensely. I think two hours might be a bit much but one would be great. And for those who say that it wouldn't help because people would just stay at work longer, I say too bad! Stay there if you're too bloody idiotic to go home at a decent hour and I'll enjoy the golf course without you.

  • 2

    NZ2011

    Day light savings please!

    Personally...yes change it.. what good is the sun rising at 4am if nothing opens till 10..

    Thats no doubt a bit tokyo centric point of view on my part, and because ideally Japan would be one timezone, I wonder how it would effect other regions.

    Apparently the concern has been in Japan in the past, people would get too confused.. its not that hard people.

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    This is unnecessary. Just open the Tokyo financial markets 2 hours earlier. Besides, it would be dangerous for school children commuting to school especially in the winter months where it could be still dark.

  • 0

    Brainiac

    This is not about about daylight saving time in summer, as many readers seem to think. It is about making the change permanent all year. I think it will cause a lot of chaos. And in winter, we'll be going to work at 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. and it will still be dark. In the afternoon, it will be dark at 3 or 4 - weird. It will also impact farmers -- tell the cows to produce their milk two hours later.

    If the sole object is to realign Japan's financial markets, then I agree with a poster above and just open the Tokyo Stock Exchange at 8 a.m.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Personally...yes change it.. what good is the sun rising at 4am if nothing opens till 10..

    10 AM will still be 10AM, and there is such a thing as curtains you know.

  • 1

    JustAGoodOleBoy

    It should be moved 2 hrs. I lived at the same lattitude as a child and it didn't get dark in my country until after 9pm in the summer. Getting light in Japan at 3:30am and being dark at 6:30pm in the summer is crazy.

  • -1

    Eigen

    Oh no! Heaven help us if we have to push TWO BUTTONS to move the hours on our clocks! Really, the land of pushing dirt around for 20 minutes a day after class until you're 17 and changing the clocks twice a year is a hassle? Heck, it's a great way to keep them on time.

    I don't want to be forced awake at 4am everyday during the summer. Bring on a change!

    ....OOoh, and what about siestas while we're at it? ;)

  • 5

    ambrosia

    Brainiac: It will also impact farmers -- tell the cows to produce their milk two hours later.

    Surely the farmers would figure out for themselves to get up at the same time they always had and milk the cows accordingly. I've never met a farmer who depended on a clock to tell him or her when to do the farm work.

  • 2

    Saxon Salute

    A permanent change by one hour makes a lot of sense, especially for those in the Tokyo area. No reason at all why the cows can't have a lie-in. One hour of DST in addition would be brilliant too.

  • 4

    AKBfan

    Abechronomics?

  • 0

    gogogo

    Japan and the US catch up to the rest of the world. Nothing wrong with DST

  • 2

    gogogo

    It is interesting to note that Japanese standard time hasn’t changed in over 125 years, since it was established in 1886.

    This is incorrect, DST was introduced into Japan after WW2 but scraped a few years later

  • 2

    Tom DeMicke

    I could handle it, but just one hour adjustment once in spring and once in fall. Give you the real feeling of changing seasons which is hard to appreciate in Okinawa.

  • 0

    cracaphat

    Tired of reading the govt's considering doing this or changing that.Just do something concrete and done.Too slow to act as per usual.

  • 2

    smithinjapan

    When they decide to do something, let me know. Forming panels to discuss the idea of forming groups to think about is more than trite, here. That said, why TWO hours? one might be enough. I would very much like to wake up to the sunshine at around 6 even, instead of 4:30 a.m. or what have you, and it would be nice to walk home in the waning hours of daylight instead of pitch black at 7:00 p.m. or so. Economically speaking, unless you are a power company, NOT having daylight savings time makes next to no sense.

  • 1

    NZ2011

    Yaburu, Yes you are correct, I can easily control my curtains, however I can't control shop opening hours or the hours of offices.

    Perhaps you haven't had the pleasure of being able to have a sunlight walk, dinner, beer or anything else you enjoy after work in the evening, its pretty nice.

  • 1

    NZ2011

    And Im not sure you understand what I meant about opening hours, yes clearly 10am would still be 10am as far as schedules , what Im suggesting is there wouldn't be 6 sunlight hours before anything opens.

  • -1

    NZ2011

    And on the power savings, it potentially makes a difference for morning travel if the day still hasn't heated up to the maximum temperature.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    You have got to be concerned about their motivation for this. It is only so the stock market will be open an hour earlier than Sydney. Two hours is too much! One hour is sufficient. If they advance the clocks two hours it will still be daylight at 10pm, which totally absurd!

  • 6

    jumpultimatestars

    I totally agree, there is no logic behind the current time system and is completely against nature's body clock. Seriously, what is the point of the sun rising hours before anyone gets out of bed? it's ridiculous.

  • 1

    jumpultimatestars

    @disillusioned that's not as absurd as sunsets before 5pm in the winter.

  • 2

    jumpultimatestars

    You know what, I'd even go as far as to hazard a guess that part of the depression problem in japan is tied to trying to live against your internal body clock.

  • 2

    danalawton1@yahoo.com

    Two hours more light at the end of the day would be great. Japanese Men might actually come home from work and play sports in the evenings. One of the best things about the extra hour in the Summer in the USA is playing softball with your buddies after work.

  • 0

    CH3CHO

    Inose is not talking about DST at all. He is talking about permanent change in time zone.

    It is interesting to note that Japanese standard time hasn’t changed in over 125 years, since it was established in 1886.

    People do not change standard time unless the speed at which earth rotates around itself changes.

    Before 1886 Japan used varying hour system. Dawn is defined to be 6 am. Sunset is defined to be 6 pm. The time from dawn to sunset is divided by 12 and 1 "day hour" is determined. The time from sunset to dawn is divided by 12 and 1 "night hour" is determined. 1 day hour is longer or shorter than 1 night hour and changes everyday. What is amazing is that Japan already had clocks that automatically adjust themselves to this varying hour system more than 125 years ago.

  • 3

    Ah_so

    I think it will cause a lot of chaos. And in winter, we'll be going to work at 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. and it will still be dark. In the afternoon, it will be dark at 3 or 4 - weird. It will also impact farmers -- tell the cows to produce their milk two hours later.

    braniac - come on, which is it...will it be dark at 8:30am or will it be dark at 3pm? It cannot be both - it will be one or the other.

    As you are a bit confused, it will be dark later in the morning (up to nearly 9am in winter) but stay light to nearly 7pm. In winter it will be light after 9pm, with dawn at 6am. Personally I would go for moving the clocks forward 1 hour permanently and then consider whether to have a further hour in summer.

    Your comment about cows milking is hogwash, although the argument has been around for decades. Cows will be milked when they need to be milked, not according to the clock. It will be 2 hours later according to the clock, but cows cannot tell the time. You might as well argue that leap years disrupt the gestation period of pregnant women!

  • -1

    CH3CHO

    Here is the link to the proposal that Governor Inose turned in to PM Abe. http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/keizaisaisei/skkkaigi/dai9/siryou9-2.pdf On page 12.

    After the proposed time change

    June 21, sunrise 6:35 am, sunset 9:00 pm

    December 21, sunrise 8:46 am, sunset 6:33 pm

  • 2

    ThonTaddeo

    I wholeheartedly support shifting Japan's standard time zone one hour ahead, whether DST is brought in or not.

    Look at a map of the world where there are colored stripes showing the time zones. Almost everywhere, the time zones "lean" to the west because most societies would prefer to have extra daylight at the end of the day rather than at the beginning of the day. But here in Japan, they created the time zone based on the 135th meridian despite the vast majority of the major cities (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo) lying east of this line.

    Indeed, I've been to the Yaeyama islands and Yonaguni, all the way out at the wessternmost reaches of Japan, and that's the only place where the daylight hours feel natural.

    I work the late-night shift and get to enjoy the utterly-empty, but still bright-as-noon, city streets when finishing work at 4 AM. This is great for my safety but a complete waste of energy for everyone else.

    It also makes summers feel hotter as buildings have already been heated by the sun for several hours before business begins. (This would be less of a problem if there were no restrictions on air conditioning.) Then in the evenings after work, everyone has to put the lights on when eating dinner.

    Shift at least one hour right now, and never change it back.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    I can see an advantage an hour of DST in summer, but winter is absurd! Kids will be going to school in darkness. This is just another economically motivated plan with no consideration to the over all impact on society. Japanese men will not go home and play sports or cook BBQs after work. They will just work later. How will any ody get there kids to sleep if it is still daylight at 10pm? It is just stooopid!

  • 1

    bruinfan

    @Saxon SaluteM

    I agree-- a one hour ahead year-round shift.

  • 0

    avigator

    Sounds like forced free overtime for the salarymen, who will have to stay at work until it gets dark so they can go drinking after sunset. They will probably not be able to handle going back home while it is still bright outside. It is probably good for spring and summer but definitely not in the winter.

  • 3

    Open Minded

    Disillusioned: Japan is the only country I know with a negative off-set of clock time vs. daylight time. All this free sunlight energy wasted when still in bed in the morning while you need to turn on lightning in the early evening - not to say late afternoon.

    Enjoying a bit of daylight after work is cool! Beer has even a better taste on a sunshine terrace than in a karaoke box!

    For a good sleep you just need blackout blinds or curtains. Regardless if it is in the evening or in the morning.

  • 0

    Open Minded

    ThonTaddeo: you said it all and better. My post is just redundant!

  • 0

    Kobuta Chan

    In Australia, NSW, VIC and TAS have 1 hour daylight saving time. SA does not have it. QLD peoples objected in referendum. Most of peoples do not like to have daylight saving time in their state. 2 hours daylight saving time will make hell to most of peoples in Japan. I don't think Japanese peoples want daylight saving time except Gov Naoki Inose. I don't know what Gov Naoki Inose thinking about daylight saving time. He can move his clock 2 hours ahead if he likes daylight saving time. It's just placebo for Gov Naoki Inose’s daylight saving time syndrome. Why he does not have idea of changing starting and finishing time for Tokyo Stock market only if he wants to have the Tokyo financial markets opening first in the world? I don't think also peoples will like to change their habit of bed time and wake up time. The brain will need to reprogram if Japan has 2 hours daylight saving time.

  • 0

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    Call me a traditionalist, but I think one should just use a time zone that corresponds with their longitude. Anybody that feels like waking up earlier or later to take advantage of whatever opportunity can just do it by themselves...

  • 0

    Open Minded

    Kazuaki: you logic is fine if you are an independent farmer, but salarymen like me cannot start work before 9:00 AM and cannot leave before 6:00 PM. Thus there is no point to wake up earlier.

    And as said before, the "natural" timezone is shift in Japan. Assuming noon should be the sun zenith, in Tokyo it is at about 11:30 AM while in the rest of the world it is around 1:00 PM.

  • 0

    Sofa_king

    Are you more likely to be awake at 4AM or 7PM?

    If you and most people you know answered 7PM then the time zone should be shifted.

  • 0

    toshiko

    In USA, there are 6 time zones. Hawaii, Alaska, Pacific, Mointain, Central and Eastern, I don;t know about Hawaii or Alaska, but 4 other zones have 1 hour differnece, And each has 1 hour Daylight savinggn time. Spring comes, we change `1 hour when the day comes to change. We sake up same time. I

  • 0

    Kashiwa

    he wants to have the Tokyo financial markets opening first in the world.

    If the time change is purely for financial reasons, why not simply open the Tokyo financial markets earlier (as someone else mentioned in an earlier post)?

  • -5

    Fadamor

    Assuming that the sun now rises around 6 AM (it probably doesn't, but I'm just fixing the time for this example's purposes), moving the clocks forward by two hours means that the sun won't be rising until 8 AM. People will be doing their morning commute to work or school in the pre-dawn or early dawn for most of the year. Accidents will rise because dawn and dusk are the times when a driver's vision has the hardest time discerning objects out the window.

    On the other side, the sun won't be SETTING until 10 PM or so. Employees will be "encouraged" to work through the "day" by their managers.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    If the time change is purely for financial reasons, why not simply open the Tokyo financial markets earlier (as someone else mentioned in an earlier post)?

    While part of the financial markets is international in scope, the main part of it is intra-national. Having the markets open two hours before anything happens intra-nationally means you either have to have two shifts of workers or the one shift twiddles its thumbs for two hours before they have things to do.

  • 1

    Sofa_king

    After the proposed time change

    June 21, sunrise 6:35 am, sunset 9:00 pm

    December 21, sunrise 8:46 am, sunset 6:33 pm

    The summer daylight hours look about right but winter looks off by an hour: hence many countries use the daylight savings system. The main argument against seems to be that it would be 'confusing' but I had always thought people liked things to be difficult to follow (insert example of baffling system here). I can see how those working outdoors would do more hours during the summer, can't see it making much of a difference to anyone else's work day though.

  • 1

    hooktrunk2

    I've been preaching this for years. No more waking up at 4am and the kids can play outside after dinner like normal kids. I'm in favor. Why is the author so negative toward the time change? It also helps adjust the time to the seasonal changes.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    Change the time by 2 hours would mean that JST will be put JST between Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand will still be first but Tokyo will be 1 hr ahead of Sydney. But I do agree that summer sunrise at 4am is ridiculous. But if you ware worried about kids going to school in the dark in the winter, then the time should be adjusted by just 1 hour. Then sunrise on 12/21 will be at 7:46am. So even if the kids start out for school at 7am, it will be light. BTW, I think for the benefit of the kids, school should not start before 9am. Studies have should that adolescents need they sleep into the morning. As for daylight saving times, that just crazy. Take the US with Alaska and Hawaii doesn't have it. Most of Arizona doesn't have it so part of the year, Phoenix has the same time as Denver and during the summer the has the same time as LA. But the upper right corner of Arizona stays the same as Denver all the time. But a small section with the corner section of Arizona same with Arizona time. Confusing... I think there are other parts that different too, so it is not uniformed. Also, daylight saving times creates all kinds of issues related to computers and programs. For example, in Spring going ahead 1 hour is not a issue since 1 hr disappears but in fall you get 2 (0200-0259). So in a hospital, if a drug is administered every hour, then it can be that the drug given at 2:05AM was given a hour before the one at 2:01am. The in the US congress change the dates of Daylight saving time but a month at both ends just to make it more confusing...

  • 1

    randomenigma

    The entirety of Japan being an hour ahead of Sydney is weird. Japan is basically directly north, so the latest zone they should be using is UTC+10...

    As far as computers go, people who mess around with time zones often forget that computers maintain a full history of all these changes. Even if you abolished daylight savings in every country right now, computers still have to know what the rules were in the past, otherwise past dates and times will display incorrectly. And of course if you bump Japan two hours forwards this year, computers will still have to handle it as UTC+9 for past dates. It might highlight a bunch of applications which were naïvely thinking that the time zone offset for a city is a constant thing (I know that a lot of forum software makes this mistake.)

  • 0

    DaveAllTogether

    Shifting two hours ahead is too much. Like many I find the early sunrises a bit disconcerting, even after being here for so many years. Moving time ahead might solve that but then we get into later sunsets. How about this: move time ahead one hour and open the Stick Exchange one hour earlier. Best of both worlds.

    BTW, if anybody in the States complains about losing one hour of sleep one day a year needs to STFU.

  • 7

    zichi

    Even after 20 years I still miss those light evenings and still haven't got use to the summer sunrise at 4am and earlier. We have very heavy curtains on the bedroom windows otherwise my brain wakes up way too early.

  • 1

    Hall Kyle

    "CH3CHO", a commenter above, mentioned Japan had its own unique time system in the Meiji Era. First I ever heard of "wadokei"; for what it's worth, here is the "wiki" explanation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_clock

    The "wadokei" system sounds exhausting, just reading about it (then again, I'm not Japanese).

    As for any change Japan might (or might not) make, it strikes me that Japan might want to avoid intensifying the "Galapagos Effect" (or, maybe Japan would indeed prefer to strengthen said effect).

  • 2

    Carcharodon

    I’m not sure if anyone actually “loves” it, but it certainly seems like most people hate it.

    what a load of utter drivel, the author is obviously not an outdoors/sports person, nor associates with them.

    Walks, sports, playing with the kids, bbq's after work in summer, yes DST is one of the pleasures of summer for people who like to live. Zoo humans seem to hate it. They need to get out more.

    Japan is is the wrong time zone to begin with, it should be in GMT+10 all the time. If that were the case, the argument for DST would not be such an issue.

    Vladivostok west of Japan but TWO time zones ahead and no DST has much better timings of sunrise and sunset. Sapporo must suck in summer.

    Vladivostok 26 May 2013 SR 06:40 SS 21:40 Sapporo 26 May 2013 SR04:02 SS 19:02

  • -6

    David Elson

    If the sun rises at 4.00 why not simply wake up earlier and go for a jog/hit the gym...

    Having an actually dark evening is not a bad thing when going drinking with your mates (besides Japan has street lighting.)

  • 2

    horrified

    Yep - I've always felt that Japan is in the wrong time zone. They made a blunder with that, and moving the clock two hours would be appropriate. The west coast of Canada sees June sunsets after 9:30pm. Would seem strange to move those daylight hours to early morning.

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