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Japanese fare better than Okinawans with vacations

Date Posted: 2005-07-22

Annual vacation days for Okinawan workers has dropped 0.3 days in 2005.

The Okinawa Prefecture Labor Office says Okinawans are averaging only 5.3 days vacation, more than two days less than their mainland Japan counterparts. The survey included all companies with five or more employees.

Adding to the misery, the Labor Office reports that Okinawans are being paid far less than Japanese. Local salaries are 35-40% lower than on the mainland, and benefits are often far fewer. Some Okinawa companies are facing tough economic times and have denied all summer vacations for their employees, allowing only normal paid days off.

Typically, Okinawan firms offer seven paid vacation days annually for new employees, with additional days added as seniority rises. Still, labor officials say it is difficult for employees to get even 2-3 days off together, because Okinawa’s labor force isn’t layered. On the mainland, companies have a system that provides backup for employees who are on vacation. Only the 34 large Okinawa companies offer more than seven days vacation to their employees.

Obon Festival is upcoming, and for that, even Okinawan businesses yield and grant time off.

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