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Monday, 6th June 2016
In General Japan News,

Japanese government leads by example with flexible working

Japanese government employees will be encouraged to start and finish work early during July and August.

The move is part of an initiative, known as yukatsu, which was originally introduced last summer to promote flexible working practices.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe implemented the change in a bid to improve the work/life balance of employees and encourage them to spend time and money on leisure activities.

By starting work between 7.30am and 8.30am, government staff will be able to leave at 5pm, leaving them with the evening hours to spend with family and friends, reports Japan Today.

Government offices in the Kasumigaseki district of Tokyo will switch their lights off by 8pm to ensure that nobody is working extended hours.

Findings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that the average Japanese worker completed 1,735 hours’ work in 2013.

This is significantly more than the 1,489 hours’ average in France and Germany’s figure of 1,388 hours, but less than the 1,788 hours of the United States’ employees.

Some labour experts believe that the actual number of hours worked by staff in Japan is actually higher, with many employees under-reporting the overtime they complete.

There is a culture of presenteeism in the Japan workforce that is hard to overcome and even after leaving the office, many firms expect employees to spend time together, as opposed to going home.

Starting and finishing earlier in the summer months is seen as favourable in Japan, as the country does not practice daylight saving.

This means the sun rises at 4.30am and sets at 7pm, leaving some employees finishing work once it has already become dark.