Long Workdays

The five-martini lunch

Japanese businessmen last week turned their abundant energies to bonenkai, or forget-the-year parties. In restaurants and nightclubs round the country, hostesses entertained them by purring demurely and pouring drinks. The night ended, many men sped off in rented limousines, often leaving behind bills of $1,500 or more.

This is all part of kosai-hi, literally entertainment expenses. Japan's national tax administration estimates that total outlay for company entertainment during the past fiscal year was $13.3 billion, up 11.2% from the previous year. While the Japanese defense budget is .9% of the country's...

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