If You’re Late For Work In Japan, Not To Worry

In Japan, companies, governments and schools have traditionally been very strict about employees, staff and students arriving on time. When so much of the population — especially in large cities like Tokyo — relies on public transportation, any delay can impact a large number of individuals. To help their passengers avoid trouble with their bosses or school officials, Japanese railways instituted a procedure to prove that a passenger’s tardiness was through no fault of his or her own. When a train is delayed, the staff at each station where a delayed train stops will distribute a “train delay certificate” that can be given to a boss, school principal or other person in charge as an acceptable reason for being late. The certificate indicates the date of the delay and the amount of time the train was delayed and are generally issued for any delay of five minutes or more. Japan’s train system, well known for its punctuality, instructs its attendants to issue an apology to passengers if the train is delayed two minutes or more from the posted schedule.