I met up with two Japanese friends today. Usually when I meet up with friends, at least one of us is late. It is very common for us to send and/or receive a message saying something like “Gonna be 20 minutes late… I missed my train… sorry!” But I guess this ruins everyone’s perception that in Japan everything and everyone is punctual. But almost all my female Japanese friends are never early.
I was asking the same friends earlier if this was common, and yeah they said, for women. For men, they were rarely early but they always arrived on time. Come to think of it, a lot of things here in Japan aren’t early, they are on time. Trains and buses arrive on time mostly and everything from deliveries and mail packages arrive within the time they said they would. On a related note, a logistics system called JIT (Just-In-Time) where the needed inventory is ordered and arrives at about the time the supplies dwindle down as was forecasted, making it just in time, is widely used in Japan. The Kanban System, which is closely related to JIT, was developed in Japan.
Given that things like cellphone train timetables are accurate and almost all published walking times on navigation maps are accurate, and even things like weather forecasts are included in both items, there really should be little reason for people not to make it on time… but then, we might belong to the 5% allowance given most working systems.