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All work and little sleep or play describes most Japanese, survey finds

TOKYO -- They are likely to skip breakfast, spend more than an hour commuting to work, sleep less than five hours and barely chat with their spouse.

True to their reputations as workaholics, Japanese in and around Tokyo tend to live hectic, busy lives with little free time, according to a survey by a major watchmaker.The survey of 368 people was carried out by Citizen in March and released this month to update a similar study done 25 years ago. No margin of error was given.

Possibly the most surprising finding was that "silent marriages" seem to be on the rise.

Twenty-five years ago, no one said they didn't talk at all with their spouses. In the new study, however, one in 10 fell into that category. Those who spent more than two hours a day chatting with their spouses totaled just 6 percent. Twenty percent said they spent about 30 minutes on marital dialogue a day, while 31 percent spent 15 minutes.

Citizen didn't ask the respondents the reasons for their answers, so it was unclear whether the couples were too busy to talk with each other or simply not interested, said company spokesman Kazunori Takeyama.

Commuting time seems to have increased over the years, according to the survey. Forty-two percent now spend more than an hour commuting -- up from 30 percent a quarter of a century ago.

The results also showed fewer people read the newspaper.

Twenty-five years ago, those who didn't read their morning paper at all totaled 25 percent. That has surged to 52 percent, it found, and only 4 percent now spend a half-hour or more reading their dailies, down from 14 percent 25 years ago.

Forty-one percent said they finished their breakfast in 10 minutes, while 23 percent gulped it down in five minutes. Fourteen percent skipped it entirely.

Sleep also suffered.

Only 8 percent of the respondents said they got eight hours of sleep or more. About 23 percent got five hours or less of sleep, while 50 percent settled for six hours.