Guide to fibbing at work hits Japan

Bumper sales of a guide to fibbing your way to a better work-life balance could see Japanese employers battling a barrage of imaginatively explained skiving in the new year.

The Incumbent Salaryman’s Bumper Book of Excuses, a two-volume handbook which describes itself as a “guide for success in work and love”, saw staggering pre-Christmas sales in Japan.

Its 120 handy excuses include having an ‘identical twin’ who can be blamed for embarrassing misdemeanours and claiming freak localised weather conditions and bizarre allergies prevent attendance at work.

There are also excuses to cope with being accused of having an untidy desk (it’s good feng shui), of wearing an ill-matched tie (it was a present from the client I’m about to visit) and yawning near the boss (hay fever medicine).

It could be a sign that Japanese workers’ renowned corporate loyalty, which is known for learning company songs and extensive overtime, may be starting to wane as a recession filled 2009 dawns.