How many times have you been jolted awake in summer at 4:30 a.m. by rays of sunlight streaming through your flimsy curtains? Conversely, how many sunsets have you missed because you've been stuck in an office until it's officially time to go home?

The underlying issue behind the above questions comes down to one thing: daylight saving time or, more accurately, the country's reluctance to adopt the system.

Japan does not currently practice daylight savings. The concept has been raised on several occasions in the past few decades without attracting universal support. More recently, private companies as well as central and local governments have introduced their own versions of a "summer shift," encouraging employees to start earlier in the morning so that they can clock out earlier in the evening.