Japan's government has backed initiative to ease the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously boost consumer spending. new measure is called "Premium Friday". spokesperson from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said campaign would encourage workers to leave work earlier on last Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have signed up to participate in initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics are unsure whether scheme will succeed or not because of infamous workaholic nature of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take root."
idea for Premium Friday was partly prompted by suicide of employee who was continually required to work excessive overtime at ad agency Dentsu. A court ruled suicide was "death by overwork" and stressed need to address what is common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading by example. He promoted campaign by leaving the office early for meditation session at Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was essential for both government and private sector to create atmosphere where workers feel comfortable in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays instead to finish their work.