Several municipalities across Japan are beginning to test the waters with a four-day workweek in the current fiscal year from April, allowing employees to opt for longer workdays in exchange for an extra weekday off.

This shift is not limited to workers with child-rearing or caregiving responsibilities but is open to all employees as a strategy to attract and retain talent in a changing work environment. The broader adoption and success of this initiative remain to be seen.

In Ibaraki Prefecture, the optional four-day workweek was launched in April, with eligibility extended to all prefectural employees apart from teachers and shift workers. The arrangement is anticipated to facilitate tasks such as picking up and dropping off one's children and taking one's parents to the hospital, as well as to allow employees to engage in self development.