In the era of economic boom, roughly from 1950’s to 90’s, being a salary-man (a businessman) in Japan was a ticket to a comfortable life. Not a great, but a decent pay. Nice bonuses twice a year. Unless you are not aiming for the VP’s chair, you don’t have to be seriously competitive, just doing your job is fine. If you are lucky, you may even get promoted. And even if you don’t, there is a pretty fat retirement plan when you survive through roughly 40 years of the service in the same company. If you don’t screw things up.