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About one in 10 Japanese companies have adopted programs to allow employees to take leave so they can participate in volunteer activities, according to a recent survey by the Japan Federation of Employers Associations (Nikkeiren).

The survey, conducted in December on companies and employees in Tokyo, Osaka and six other prefectures, found that 21.8 percent of firms take some measures to encourage employees to engage in volunteer activities.

Asked to specify programs in a multiple-choice questionnaire, 47.6 percent of companies said they allow employees to take days off for volunteer work, while 32 percent provide employees with information related to volunteer activities.

In addition, 72.1 percent of firms said they participate in local festivals and other activities through financial contributions and other means, while 42.8 percent join in local cleanup campaigns.

Nikkeiren, in cooperation with prefectural associations of employers, sent the questionnaire to 6,845 firms and 5,455 workers in the eight prefectures. Replies came from 1,862 firms and 2,127 workers.

Of the individual respondents, 15.6 percent are engaged in volunteer activities such as local traditional events and collection and donation of funds to support welfare programs.

Among those who do volunteer activities, 34.2 percent said they do so once to three times a month.

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