Question: Of the 15 national holidays in a year, how many of them are so-called “Happy Mondays?"
The national holidays law was revised in 2000 to provide more 3-day weekends for the purpose of enriching leisure time and stimulating the tourism industry. The law was believed to bring about positive economic effects in the range of 1 trillion yen.
However, the government is now considering abolishing the system. This idea is part of a separate legislative bill to decentralize long holidays such as Golden Week, and proposed by Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Seiji Maehara, who also heads the government’s agency for the “Promoting a Tourism-Oriented Country” strategy.
According to an insider of the Holiday Decentralization Working Team, “Domestic traveling concentrates during Golden Week, the summer Bon season and the end and beginning of the year. The proposal is to establish 4 to 5 regions in the country so that the Golden Week period won’t overlap... We hope to decentralize the Bon holiday, which coincides with children’s summer vacation as well.”
In line with this proposal, the government wants to scrap the Happy Monday system so that people can enjoy long holidays at a time instead of 3-day weekends. The tourism industry seems to favor this idea as well. A law school professor ssaid it would benefit the Japanese who only use 46% of their paid holidays.
But numerous problems are foreseeable, such as interference in businesses located in different regions, which need to be addressed before such a law can be enacted. While some have reported that the legislation will be implemented as early as 2012, the reality is that deliberations on the proposal have only begun.
Conclusion: The usual holiday congestions should be expected for another while.© Japan Today