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Japan needs to do more than simply ‘cope’ with stress via The Japan Times online

What’s ailing us? The list is long. In a nutshell: stress. Sixty percent of Japan’s work force suffers from it, according to the business magazine Weekly Toyo Keizai.

That’s astonishing. If 60 percent of people in a given environment are miserable — and stress, beyond healthy limits, is extremely miserable — the logical inference is that the environment is radically amiss, or our mode of life doesn’t suit us. That is not Toyo Keizai’s conclusion, however. Its solutions amount to variations on the theme of “coping.” Get organized, eat better, drink less, be more tolerant of other peoples’ foibles, develop a state of mind conducive to rest when rest is possible. All of that is important, but so obvious we should hardly need to be told. We don’t need to be told. That this is the best the experts can do, and that such self-evidently sensible advice turns out to be so mysteriously hard to put into practice, suggests a deeper problem than the magazine acknowledges.

That 60 percent figure, incidentally, seems to have been calculated before the ongoing surge in “earthquake stress,” “tsunami stress,” “radiation stress,” and so on. They are in a category by themselves, and Toyo Keizai is surely right to say their effects range far beyond the disaster areas.

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