Managers called TV news conference and bowed in apology at employee’s ‘deeply regrettable’ actions

Japan’s commitment to addressing its dismal record on work-life balance has been called into question after a civil servant was punished for “habitually” slipping away from his desk a few minutes early to buy a bento lunch.

The 64-year-old, an employee of the waterworks bureau in the western city of Kobe, was fined and reprimanded after he was found to have left his desk just three minutes before the start of his designated lunch break on 26 occasions over a seven-month period.

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