‘Premium Friday’ campaign draws little attention in Tokyo

Kyodo, JIJI

Only 3.7 percent of Tokyo area employees left work early last month to mark the launch of the “Premium Friday” quit work early campaign on Feb. 24, an online survey says.

The public-private initiative is designed to prod people to leave the office at 3 p.m. on the last Friday of each month to raise consumption and curtail the nation’s famously long working hours.

About 10.5 percent of the respondents said that they were encouraged to leave early or that their companies participated in the campaign, a survey by Tokyo-based marketing firm Intage Inc. said Friday.

The survey results were based on responses from some 2,200 men and women in their 20s to 50s in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures.

Of the 10.5 percent group, slightly more than a third said they left work early, and less than a fifth said they had planned to but got derailed for various reasons.

Among those who did leave early, slightly less than half said they went home and about a third said they went out to eat.

A breakdown by company size found that 5.8 percent of those with 1,000 or more employees had adopted a Premium Friday early leave policy, compared with 2.4 percent of companies with less than 100 employees.

“Greater commitment from the management side is necessary to unlock wider participation in the campaign,” an Intage official said.