Government “Premium Friday” campaign starts Friday

A government-launched campaign called “Premium Friday” to urge Japanese civil servants and office workers to leave the office earlier, like 3 or 4 p.m., on the last Friday of every month in order to curb excessive overtime, is kicking off this Friday – Feb. 24th.

However, few companies in Okinawa are planning to introduce the concept. Currently, the economy in Okinawa is good, and the shortage of workforce makes it difficult to introduce the Premium Friday concept, although there are reportedly some companies that try to reduce the overtime.

On the other hand, local retail stores are organizing events and sales for the “Premium Friday”, and there are reports that especially some travel packages on sale are have all sold out. So, some businesses expect the campaign to create new demand.

The Japanese Government calls for companies to introduce the system in order to secure their workers enough time for leisure, like shopping and eating out to boost consumption.

In Okinawa, Okinawa branches of some major companies reportedly plan to introduce the concept, but many Okinawan companies are negative about it, and it seems that it will take time before the system becomes widely accepted.

However, the service industry is most positive about it. JTB offers special travel package it calls “Two and Half Travel” that offers departures in Japan Friday evening for a visit to Okinawa.

Ryubo Department Store offers special events like color counseling or cosmetic trials starting 3 p.m. on Friday. SAN-A offers special discounts at its Wafutei and Joyful restaurants.