Japanese corporations are encouraging their employees to go home early to spend more time with their families and produce more children. The declining birth rates have become a major social problem in Japan where 12-hour workdays are the norm.
Keidanren, Japan’s largest business group with a membership of 1,300 major corporations, has asked its members to let employees go home early to spend time with families and help improve the birth rate. Several companies like Cannon, Hitachi etc are allowing their employees to go home early for procreation.
Japan has a birth rate of 1.34 which is one among the lowest in the world. A birth rate of 2.0 is required at least to maintain the present population.Japan's population peaked above 120 million in 2006 and is expected to decline in the coming years. At present, approximately 22% of the population is 65 or older - the highest proportion in the world. All this is primarily attributed to the country's common 12-hour workday, which doesn't exactly assist procreation .
Electronics giant Canon said it will let employees to go home early twice in a week to encourage procreation. Canon spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga said.Our twice-weekly 5:30 p.m. lights-out program is a simple step toward helping address the population problem. Canon has a very strong birth planning program.Sending workers home early to be with their families is a part of it.
Many small companies have already started participating in the program and it is expected that other big companies also would follow suit in the coming weeks.