Japanese worker docked half a day's pay for taking lunch 3 minutes early

A city official in Kobe, Japan, was docked half a day's pay for repeatedly leaving his desk early for lunch, CNN reported.

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The 64-year-old man, who was not identified, works for the city's waterworks bureau. Officials said the man had left his desk three minutes before his scheduled break to buy lunch -- an infraction they said had happened 26 previous times over the past seven months, CNN reported.

The man was reprimanded and docked half a day’s pay, bureau officials said.

“It is very regrettable that such misconduct took place," a bureau official said at the news conference last week. "We deeply apologize for it.”

All four officials at the conference then stood and bowed, CNN reported.

The punishment sparked criticism on social media. One person on Twitter wrote that the officials "should round up smokers who step out for three minutes." Another wrote that "It's (a) tough life nowadays. No tea break, no cigarette break, no chatting."

"We have received opinion this time from both directions, such as the reprimand was too much," Gen Oka, the general affairs officer at the bureau, told CNN. "We must think again what's the appropriate measures to take."

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