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Is there a saying (ことわざ)or 4 character phrase (四字熟語) in Japanese for the 80-20 rule (i.e. the Pareto Principle)? i.e. it takes 20% of the effort to get 80% of the results but to get the last 20% of the results takes 80% of the effort.

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What you describe is also known in English as the Pareto principle.

From this site https://takuminotie.com/blog/2015/09/09/post-9226/

we have the usage

パレートの法則

The site also says that...

それで、これらは俗に80対20の法則、2:8の法則、80-20ルールとも呼ばれる。

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  • While it's helpful to know about the Pareto principle, I don't see if it answers the real question about kotowaza or 4-character phrase... Does it exist?
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 14, 2020 at 5:45
  • @AndrewT. I don't think that any of the constructions I have listed come close to being kotowaza or yojijukugo. Maybe I should say that in my answer, but I feel hesitant to state categorically that there is no kotowaza or yojijukugo.
    – tomi
    Jan 14, 2020 at 16:23

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