Relax, the Company's Buying

Teamwork: Athletic events like this employee relay race staged by Alps Electric are back in vogue

In a private room at a posh Shinjuku crab restaurant, five twentysomethings surround Noboru Koyama, 60-year-old CEO of Tokyo cleaning company Musashino. Koyama looks at his watch — it's 8:30 p.m. — and announces that the party is moving: "O.K.," Koyama says briskly, "we'll do hotel bar, sushi, drag-queen show, hostess club, in that order." The young salarymen, who volunteered to spend Saturday night with their boss, gasp. "We're going to all?"

If you think Japan's hard-drinking business culture is as dead as the Sony Betamax, think again. After more than a decade of...

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