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Japan’s famously hard-working salarymen — and, increasingly, salarywomen — are to be encouraged to reduce the amount of time they spend in the office environment as part of the government’s initiative to improve the nation’s work-life balance.

The recently unveiled annual economic policy guidelines include new recommendations that companies permit their staff to opt to work four days a week instead of the typical five.

The coronavirus pandemic has already brought huge changes to the way that Japanese corporations — many of which are still highly rigid and traditional — go about their business.

Political leaders now hope to convince management that flexible working hours, remote working, growing interconnectedness and a host of other developments can be beneficial if they remain in place even after the end of the health crisis.

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