The workload at all schools has been increasing, and everyone has no leeway. The volume of work needs to be adjusted.

Kaoruko Magane, head of the psychiatric division at Sanraku Hospital in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, which is run by the Mutual Aid Association for Tokyo Metropolitan Teachers and Officials. About 5,200 teachers at public schools in Japan took sick leave due to mental illness in the 2011 academic year, according to the Education Ministry. (Mainichi Daily News)

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    The whole :work ethic " in Japan needs to be adjusted . . . The commitment to quality and to ensure a 'job well done' is exemplary . . .but the wear and tear on the the Japanese workers, physically and psychologically is unconsciounable........................Actually it is hIGH TIME the Ministry of Labour pass legisltaion - similar to other democratic capilistic market economies, like Canada, Britain, Germany, that govern working hours, over-time pay , holidays, discrimination and sexual harassment in the work place . . .among other things .

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    Not surprised. Most of the teachers I have known in Japan over the years work insane hours and then go in on weekends and holidays. They have no time for a life of their own. I feel bad for their kids. Something has to change.

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    Couldn't agree with Semperfi's opening comment more, but would add that the "work ethic" needs adjusting insofar as currently, there don't seem to be any ethics at all. Bosses routinely flout what little employment law exists, and very, very rarely is a case taken to, and then acted upon by the labour standards bureau.

    That said, the Japanese only have themselves to blame for this situation. Everyone is complicit in it; bosses for perpetuating and taking advantage of the situation, and employees lacking a backbone and just capitulating to it.

    I've said it before, but it's amazing how a society supposedly governed by a group mentality seemingly just cannot get it together to improve their working lives...

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    Gianmarco Conegliano

    I worked as a teacher at a Japanese middle school. You could see the spirits of the students decline in each age group from 6th grade where the entering freshmen were happy, to the last year where the students had become zombies. The Japanese system is all wrong. The desire to learn is choked out of people. This wouldn't happen if Japan adopted an AMI(Association Montessori Internationale) Montessori system, that really lived up to Montessori principles.

    All students in a Japanese school, like in most public schools in the U.S. are treated the same no matter if they are the youngest in the class or the oldest. This creates a bell-curve. Those at one end are frustrated. Those at the other are bored. The bored ones develop arrogance, the frustrated ones come to believe they are inferior and stupid.

    Montessori, on the other hand, allows each student to develop at their own level and speed. They spend as much time as needed to master the material. They are in three-year age groups, so they get to help and teach each other, which they do. They engage in a natural three-hour work cycle in the morning and afternoon. They are free to choose their own work, but are not free to choose nothing. They go out into the world to do independent research. They take care of plants and animals at school. They develop independence and self-discipline, and are very happy to go to school. They make their own products which they market and sell, from goat cheese to hand-made candles and soap, and other hand-made products. They decide for themselves as a group how to manage and spend the money. They grow organic vegetables. Research for yourself. You can start at the AMI website or see:

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