chapter  19
British Businessmen in Japan: Developing Trade Relations
Pages 19

With the yen at ¥1008 to the pound, a starting salary of £500 p.a., with allowances, enabled expatriates to live at an adequately comfortable standard, run a small car and employ a servant. When local allowances ceased during home leave (initially six months within a five-year contract), a protracted period during which to amuse oneself at home was not financially viable. Thanks to limited air travel facilities this meant that with a journey of five-six weeks, about half of the leave period could be spent on board a passenger ship or cargo vessel with the fare paid for by the company, which included board and lodging (drinks-at one's own expense, of course -were cheap). Eventually, a six-week per annum home leave pattern evolved for most expatriates with air travel essential not only because of the shorter leave period, but also because the availability of sea passages was reduced to virtually nil with the advent of containerized shipping and higher crew costs.