Japan encouraged people to leave work earlier on Friday to fight with overworking

Japan encouraged people to leave work earlier on Friday to fight with overworkingJapan’s government is urging employees to leave the office early every last Friday of the month, hoping to crack down on a culture of workaholics, The Independent said on Friday.

The Premium Friday campaign, which launched this week, is calling on workers to leave the office at 3 pm once a month, and spend time with family, dine out or go shopping.

It is hoped that the initiative will encourage people to spend more money on food, in shops and on travel. All Nippon Airways, the country’s largest airline, is offering special discounts from Friday in a bid to entice people to take trips.

“We hope this will encourage people to rest and to leave the office earlier,” an ANA spokeswoman told Japan Times.

“Participation by the government and companies is needed to push forward reforms (in the working culture),” she added.

The campaign is part of a general push by the government to crackdown on excessive working hours following the suicide of an employee at ad agency Dentsu that was reportedly ruled to be a "death by overwork", and cast a harsh spotlight on Japan’s deeply entrenched problem of overtime and burnout. The president of Dentsu stepped down in the wake of the tragic incident and the company has since announced new measures such as switching off the office lights between 10 pm and 5 am.

The government hopes that one welcome side effect of the push to promote free time will be stimulus to the economy.
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