National

In Japan, 10% unlikely to take year-end or New Year's holidays

Jiji

A survey has found that 10.6 percent of the nation’s workers will likely be unable to take even a single day off during the nine-day year-end and New Year’s holiday period from Saturday to Jan. 5.

The proportion of respondents who can possibly take all nine days off, without doing work or housework, came to 36.2 percent. About 13.3 percent said they are likely to take seven or eight consecutive holidays, followed by 12.5 percent who expect to take three or four days, and 11.0 percent who expect to take five or six days. The share of people expecting to take only one or two days off stood at 9.0 percent.

The survey, conducted under an interview format by Jiji Press from Dec. 6 to 9, covered 2,000 people aged 18 or over across Japan. Of them, 61.4 percent gave valid answers.

Asked how much they plan to spend during the holiday period, excluding otoshidama (New Year’s gift money for children), 28.0 percent said “between ¥30,000 and less than ¥60,000,” followed by 24.6 percent who said “less than ¥30,000,” and 15.3 percent who said they plan “no special spending.” The holiday period will be the first since the Reiwa Era began on May 1 in line with Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement on that day.

As for whether retail and service operators, namely convenience stores and family restaurants where work-style reforms have been a major issue recently, should stay open during the New Year’s holidays, 45.0 percent said they do not need to operate on the first three days and 38.0 percent said they want the outlets to be open from the second day. The proportion of those who want the stores to be open from New Year’s Day came to 12.5 percent.

Asked about items deemed essential for the year-end and New Year’s period, with multiple answers allowed, 57.0 percent, the largest group, cited toshikoshi (year-crossing) soba, usually eaten on New Year’s Eve, followed by 55.4 percent who cited such New Year’s dishes as osechi, a traditional cuisine prepared for the period, and a rice cake soup called zoni. Osoji (year-end house cleaning) ranked third, cited by 53.0 percent.

The long-running television show “NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen” (“NHK Red and White Song Battle”), more commonly known as Kohaku, aired by NHK on New Year’s Eve was chosen by 32.1 percent of respondents and ranked eighth. Special TV programs other than Kohaku came in 11th, selected by 19.5 percent.

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