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Speaking of. . . : At the Office : In America and Japan

March 02, 1993

It's not just a matter of time. While it's true that Japanese work more than Americans (37 minutes more per day, on average), that's hardly the biggest contrast. Japanese are also far more likely to take public transit and save money. Their employers rarely go bankrupt but are tight with donations. Best place to be a big-earning CEO? The United States, by a mile.

The following statistics are for an average day. . .

* EMPLOYMENT

U.S.: 116,667,000 Americans are employed. Japan: 62,700,000 Japanese are employed. Of those, people in labor unions: Japan: 12,227,000 are members of labor unions. U.S.: 17,002,000. People unemployed: Japan: 1,420,000. U.S.: 7,000,000 * GETTING TO WORK

The morning commute is a group effort in Japan, whether by subway or other mass transportation. By contrast, the car remains king in America. But the outcome is the same: The average time to and from work is 42 minutes in Japan, 41 in America. By Public Transportation. . .: Japan: Nearly 50 million. U.S.: Fewer than 10 million. By Subway. . .: Japan: 10,726,027 Of those, 6,704,110 travel on the Tokyo subway system. Price: 78 cents. U.S.: 6,23,288. Of those, 3,700,000 ride the New York City subway system. Price: $1.25. By Bicycle. . .: Japan: 9,405,000. U.S.: Fewer than 1 million. By Car and Other Means. . .: Japan: About 3,000,000. U.S.: About 105,000,000

* BUSINESS VENTURES Bankruptcy: Japan: 20. U.S.: 150. Investments: Amount Japan invests in the U.S.: $44.8 million. Amount U.S. invests in Japan: $4.9 million. Donations: Amount companies donate to nonprofit organizations: Japan: $2.5 million. U.S.: $13 million. * THE MONEY Amount average household takes in per day: Japan: $135. U.S.: $118. Average amount put into savings per day: Japan: $16. U.S.: $4. Average amount in savings: Japan: $40,119. U.S.: $10,822. The average CEO of a Japanese company earns 17 times as much as the average worker. The average U.S. CEO earns 85 times as much as average worker. * MACHINES AND HUMAN ERROR Automation Number of robots in place in industry: Japan: 219,700. U.S.: 32,600. Work Accidents Deaths. Japan: 6. U.S.: 29 Serious Injuries. Japan: 615. U.S.: 4,932. Sources: "On An Average Day in Japan," by Tom Heymann, 1992. Statistics, from various years, drawn from government agencies, private groups, various publications.

Note: All Japanese monetary values have been translated into dollars at the rate of 130 yen to $1.

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