France 24 on real-life 40-year-old virgins in Japan and the heartache they experience because of their lack of any real relationship knowledge or education:

Matchmaking expert Yoko Itamoto says the economic emasculation has taken its toll on Japan’s men, as more of them struggle to find secure, full-time jobs.

“Many men seem to have lost confidence as they’ve lost their economic muscle,” she said.

“In the past two decades, the situation for Japanese men has been very tough and competitive.”

The pain caused by an inability to form emotional and physical relationships with women is something that one 49-year-old architect, who did not wish to be named, knows too well.

Only twice in his life has he had romantic and sexual feelings for a woman — the first time in his mid-twenties and then again two decades later.

Both rebuffed him.

“It was devastating,” he told AFP. “It seemed to invalidate my life and take away my reason to live.”

On both occasions he suffered rapid weight-loss, and now fears he might live life as a singleton and a virgin.

Japan is not the hyper-sexual country the rest of the world believes it to be, thanks to its very peculiar yet highly popular cultural exports.

The Sunday Times on the crazy notion that passing a “no overtime” law in Japan will solve the death-from-overwork problem by rewarding workers for completing their required job tasks rather than merely staying in the office for as long as possible:

apan’s push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning that it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country’s notoriously long working hours – karoshi, or death from overwork.

Teruyuki Yamashita knows the risks all too well. The now 53-year-old worked day and night in a senior sales job, made countless overseas business trips, and slept an average of just three hours a night.

Six years ago, his frantic work pace took a near fatal turn after he collapsed from a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of brain bleeding, leading to three weeks in intensive care – and the loss of his sight.

“I told a nurse that it was dark – I didn’t realise that I was blind,” Yamashita said, recalling when he woke up in hospital.

Hundreds of deaths related to overwork – from strokes, heart attacks and suicide – are reported every year in Japan, along with a host of serious health problems, sparking lawsuits and calls to tackle the problem.

While the basic idea behind the bill may have merit, sadly the unintended consequences will likely be disastrous. There is good reason why we say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

What will likely end up happening is this: employers will require employees to sign new “no overtime” contracts while forcing them to perform additional duties they cannot possibly complete on-time. In turn, the employees will work longer hours than previously, with zero compensation, and thus will likely end up dying or being hospitalized from excessive work. Talk about a no-win, screw-your-work-life-balance situation.

Japan needs to get out of the habit of merely staying in the office for long hours for the sake of appearances. Tangible demonstration of work completed should be far more important than staying at your desk until almost midnight, doing nothing merely because your boss has not yet left the office. Unfortunately this is the work environment many Japanese find themselves locked into and it likely not going to change in the near future.