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A group of senior vice ministers proposed Thursday that Japan allow a school break in autumn and that salaried workers be given the chance to exploit their annual leave in a bid to spur the tourism industry.

The ministers adopted the plan after discussing ways to use tourism — an industry that produces 54 trillion yen in goods and services annually and employs 4.2 million people — to boost the economy.

The government should call on companies to make it easier for employees to take all of their paid annual holidays and local school boards should be allowed to shift the summer break to autumn, according to the plan.

The government should also try to help boost the number of foreign tourists to Japan, the ministers said suggesting the introduction of discount fares and reduced fees for admission to cultural facilities. At present, the number of foreign tourists here is only about a quarter of the number of Japanese who travel abroad, they said.

The government should work to achieve these goals through close coordination among ministries and agencies, including the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, they said.

One recommendation calls for the introduction of a flat-rate railway pass for foreign travelers who visit both South Korea and Japan.

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