Ja­pan starts week­end early to im­prove work-life bal­ance

Cape Breton Post - - IN MEMORIAM/RELIGION -

It was not busi­ness as usual for some work­ers in Ja­pan on Fri­day.

As the clock reached 3 p.m., about 100 of­fice work­ers raised cham­pagne glasses in a cafe in the mid­dle of Tokyo’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict to toast “Pre­mium Fri­day,” a new ini­tia­tive to pro­mote bet­ter work-life bal­ance.

Com­pany and gov­ern­ment of­fices were asked to let em­ploy­ees leave at 3 p.m. in what is sup­posed to be­come a reg­u­lar prac­tice on the last Fri­day of each month.

“This scheme en­cour­ages us ... to go have a drink or eat or play sports with friends, or spend time with our fam­i­lies,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told the work­ers at the cafe. “I think it will be won­der­ful if this ini­tia­tive re­forms the way peo­ple work.”

Bars, restau­rants, stores and travel agents are among those hop­ing it will also stim­u­late spend­ing by con­sumers.

For those able to leave the of­fice early, it was a wel­come break in a coun­try known for its long work­ing hours.

“It will be good if this will lead to a so­ci­etal change, even if it is grad­ual,” said Aki Kono, a 46-year-old of­fice worker.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.