A task force set out earlier this year to bring more balance to the the grueling lifestyles that have become engrained in Japanese society over the past century. In November, a set of employment guidelines were formally adopted by the government.

The traditional lifestyle in Japan includes a job-devoted patriarch who dedicates 40 to 60 hours each week to his company and whose family is balanced by his wife, who spends her days at home taking care of the children in addition to cooking, cleaning, serving, washing, rinsing and repeating.

The government's guidelines encourage male employees to spend fewer hours at the office each week, to take their yearly paid leave and child-care leave and to spend more time attending to their children and doing chores around the home. The guidelines also offer more employment opportunities for those between the ages of 60 and 64.