Japanese employee fined for taking lunch 3 minutes early

Image capture of video via Wall Street Journal's YouTube account
  • A Japanese city official has been docked half a day’s pay for repeatedly leaving his desk for a few minutes
  • The incident sparked a heated debate on social media over the severity of the punishment

A Japanese city official has been reprimanded and been fined half a day’s pay for repeatedly leaving his desk three minutes earlier during work hours to buy lunch.

According to CNN, the 64-year-old man, who has not been identified, is employed by the waterworks bureau in Kobe.

The man had left his desk for three minutes to buy a takeaway bento lunch box before his lunch time started. He did this 26 times over a seven-month period, according to a city spokesman.

“The lunch break is from noon to 1 pm. He left his desk before the break,” the spokesman said.

The official, 64, had half a day´s pay docked as punishment and the bosses called a news conference to apologize.

“It´s deeply regrettable that this misconduct took place. We´re sorry,” a bureau official told reporters; bowing deeply.

The worker was in violation of a public service law stating that officials have to concentrate on their jobs.

The news sparked a heated debate on Japanese social media; with many defending the official.

“It´s sheer madness. It´s crazy. What about leaving your desk to smoke?” said one Twitter user.

“Is this a bad joke? Does this mean we cannot even go to the bathroom?” said another.



Source :

CNN, The News, HCA Mag