(FINANCIAL TIMES) - Petty. Embittered. Absurd. There are plenty of words that have been applied to the legal skirmish centring on an unnamed bullet train driver, a slightly overdue arrival at a depot in western Japan and the 43 yen (about 50 Singapore cents) his employer docked from his wages.
The word that feels glaringly absent in all this, though, is "bargain". Because this case - vehemently fought on the narrowest of financial battlegrounds, teetering on the cliff-edge of human redundancy and deeply revealing of the modern Japanese workplace - has also provided the country with an unusually accurate price for one of the great national intangibles.