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Life Balance

Yoshie Komuro | TEDxTokyo 2012

Here’s an object lesson in quality vs. quantity: Despite Japan’s fervent obsession with overtime, it occupies the bottom rung of labor productivity among advanced nations. Yoshie Komuro thinks Japanese workers deserve better treatment̶and to have a private life. While at Shiseido, she began an internal venture to help reintegrate women returning to work after child-rearing leave. Two years after Yoshie was named “Nikkei Woman of the Year” in 2004, she launched Work Life Balance Co., Ltd. to take her ideas nationwide. Work Life Balance has already helped over 900 businesses rationalize their work hours and ramp up fiscal performance. The company’s award-winning “Armo” computer program, for example, aids both employers and employees with maternity, childcare, and sick leave issues. Yoshie, who has spoken before the Diet and advises regularly on government labor policies, is now intent on upgrading the government’s control of the work environment as well as restructuring elder care̶another of Japan’s major social headaches.