Daylight Saving Time and Japan

Japan does not observe Daylight Saving Time. Observing Japan not observing DST is, I think, a useful experience for anyone who wants to argue about whether DST should continue elsewhere.

From what I could tell, the outcome of keeping standard time is this: compared with society on DST, extra daylight illumines the morning before people get going, while the sun sets relatively earlier in the evening when people are active. This seems predictable to me, really. Are people more likely to shift all the many elements of their interdependent schedules ahead, relative to the clock, to take advantage of earlier daylight… or to keep their established patterns relative to the clock, regardless of when it gets light outside?

No surprise, people keep following the clock. In truth, I’m not sure whether even many DST opponents expect otherwise. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to the arguments, such as they are, so I don’t know whether anyone anticipates that if we leave the clocks alone, people will adjust their activities ahead anyway… or if it’s more “DST annoys me because it’s non-rational, people should simply adjust their activities without meddling with the clocks, probably they won’t but that’s their choice, stop playing silly games with shifting clocks around dammit.”

Difficult to say with this type.

Personally, I just can’t care that much. Based on what I experienced Japan, I’m even less likely to support eliminating DST where it already exists than I was before. I can’t say that there’s necessarily a compelling case, there, for introducing DST in the first place… But I do think anyone who does want to take on this argument should be aware of the results from at least one natural experiment. (Acknowledging that my own interpretation of those results is open to question; Japan disclaimer.)

As for me, I think DST or its absence is another matter for one of my rules of thumb: don’t pick at it, you’ll only make it worse.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation