Trucking in Japan
Sharp New York Times profile on changes in the trucking industry in Japan, worth reading in full (or at least scrolling through the lovely photos of Japanese Apple Orchards).
Japan’s trucking industry is a crucial cog in one of the world’s largest economies, and it is the lifeblood of the Japanese culture of ultra-convenience. But it, and its drivers, are under immense strain. To improve job conditions and make the work more appealing, the government is moving to cap overtime for the first time next year, easing the punishing hours that have long defined trucking in Japan.
One of the drivers of the issue, lack of standardization:
Trucks in Japan do not have detachable trailers, unlike trucks in much of the developed world. Cardboard boxes are not standardized — there are 400 different sizes for shipping oranges, for example.