The Diet passed a bill in June that will shift certain national holidays in 2020 to ease traffic congestion during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Marine Day, which is usually the third Monday of July, will be moved to July 23, the day before the opening ceremony, while Sports Day, normally the second Monday in October, will be shifted to July 24, the day of the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, Mountain Day, which is usually celebrated on Aug. 11, will be moved up a day to Aug. 10, the day after the closing ceremony, which falls on a Sunday.

By concentrating these holidays around times when the population of Tokyo is expected to swell, the government hopes to relieve some of the pressure on roads and public transportation, since fewer people are likely to be commuting. According to IT Media Business Online, these changes do not sit well with some sectors of the population. There will be no increase in the number of national holidays, so workers and students who normally look forward to three-day weekends in July and October won't be able to utilize them in 2020. That means leisure and tourism-related entities will lose business during those periods. Also, people who don't live in Tokyo wonder why they have to change their schedules just for the convenience of the capital, since these holiday shifts are being made on a national rather than a local basis.

The government's scheme shows how arbitrary the national holiday system is. Moving Sports Day to the day of the opening ceremony makes symbolic sense because its original meaning was to commemorate the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Broadly speaking, Marine Day and Mountain Day were initially implemented to compel the public to take a break from work, the implication being that they needed permission from the government to do so.