Premium Friday campaign kicks off in effort to boost consumer spending

Baku, February 24, AZERTAC

Starting Friday, many workers in Japan, notorious for its culture of overwork, will have a chance to start the weekend early, albeit once a month, for a trip to an onsen (hot springs), a shopping spree or simply dining out with family and friends, according to the Japan Times News.

The Premium Friday campaign, launched by the government and business lobby Keidanren, calls on workers to leave the office at around 3 p.m. on the last Friday of each month.

Aimed at boosting consumption and curbing long working hours, businesses are hoping to cash in on the move, offering a variety of new services and products.

With high expectations that a longer weekend will encourage people to travel, Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways Co., is offering 1,000 people up to a ¥10,000 discount for domestic flights scheduled to depart on Friday with further promotions planned.

“We hope this will encourage people to rest and to leave the office earlier,” said an ANA spokeswoman. “Participation by the government and companies is needed to push forward reforms (in the working culture).”

East Japan Railway Co. is offering a trip to Tochigi, Nagano, Fukushima or Miyagi prefectures on luxury Gran Class shinkansen trains, hoping to reinvigorate regional communities and promote local delicacies.

If a weekend trip is not an option, a short ride in a limousine with a glass of strawberry-dipped champagne around Tokyo’s Nihonbashi and Marunouchi districts may be an alternative. Restaurants in the area are also planning to offer special meals as part of the promotion.

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