A study has found that Japan's high school students, once renowned for their diligence and self-discipline, are slacking off and falling behind their peers elsewhere in the world.
The Japan Youth Research Institute, a non-profit group, said it found that Japanese students study less regularly and sleep more often in class than those in China, South Korea and the United States.
"Japanese students are happy with the status quo and lack vision about their future," the institute's head, Tamotsu Sengoku told AFP Thursday. "Among all the nations studied, Japan is particularly bad."
The institute surveyed around 6,200 students in the four countries last year, in co-operation with other research centres.
It found that about 45 percent of Japanese students said they sleep during classes, compared with 32 percent in South Korea, 21 percent in the United States and five percent in China.
Japanese students tended to "cram" information immediately before tests while their foreign peers tended to study more regularly, it said.
The study also found that Japanese students took less pride in their schools, tended not to seek answers to things they did not understand and were more passive about having more elective classes.
Japanese parents, particularly fathers, were found to be less interested in their children's grades than those in the other three countries.
Sengoku blamed Japan's relative wealth and high standard of living for eroding children's desire to study hard to secure a better future.
Japanese have become less ambitious "because at least you can put food on the table," Sengoku said. "Parents are not pushing their children to study hard. Japanese students are no longer hard workers."