Japan Mulls Holiday Reform To Spur Tourism

TOKYO (Nikkei)–The government is considering holiday reform to increase tourism and relieve crowding problems that often accompany vacations.

In addition to creating more three-day weekends by switching holiday dates, the government is considering staggering summer breaks at schools by region.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Chiba Prefecture, among others, have already created special holidays, mainly for students at public elementary and junior high schools.

The central government is discussing ways to prompt employees to take more paid holidays. One idea is to change accounting standards so that companies are required to book reserve provisions for unused holidays as debt.

Japan ranks lowest in terms of use of paid holidays, with over 50% of the total going unused annually. The government estimates that using the full amount would create about 1.5 million jobs and generate economic benefits of about 12 trillion yen.

The government plans to work out the details of its plans with the relevant ministries and industries.

(The Nikkei April 21 evening edition)

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