A young man fulfilling his alternative civilian service, instead of compulsory military service, attends a patient last year in a hospital in Stuttgart, Germany. The German government has announced plans to scrap compulsory military service and optional community service, a decision that has left German social service agencies scrambling to fill an anticipated labor shortfall.
Imported from China, the abacus has been used in Japan for hundreds of years. Abacus literacy was a prerequisite for many white-collar jobs as late as 1980, until the arrival of pocket calculators. Now, the ancient tool is staging a comeback.