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Extended Golden Week loses luster for working parents


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But an official in charge at the Cabinet Office said, "It's difficult for the government to introduce unified countermeasures."

Japan doesn't have the procedures in place for 'fun' over an extended period. We should ship the entire population over to the Med for the summer months, let the locals show them what taking time off work really means.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Is it too much to ask some of these companies to be flexible with its workers? Even if the company 'must' operate through the holiday period, break down the staff to a minimum shifts and give customers notice. Same for hospitals. Limited operating hours or have people work remotely.

I can understand those shops/departments that directly benefit when the masses are off, but why does an accountant need to come into the office?

I love how people are blaming the government and not giving one look at their companies who force them to work through holidays. A lot of those workers will be playing minesweeper or watching the paint peel off the walls.

As municipal governments are responsible for overseeing authorized childcare centers, the official said, local governments should devise their own solutions.

But an official in the municipal government of Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, said, "Nothing really has been decided by us. It would help if the government laid out a course of action."

Translation: Neither side wants to take responsibility.

This is truly why any effort to get Japanese people to have more children will have a tough time gaining any traction. The source of the problem is this awkward employee-to-company loyalty people have here.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

People are going to need a vacation after this vacation

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I wondered how long it would take before this once-in-a-lifetime celebration became tarred with the “Troublesome” brush.

The concept of just enjoying yourself seems to be unimaginable to a lot of people in this burg.

Also, why can’t these firms who are already brewing up the “we must all work together and not burden our coworkers” Kool-Aid for airbrushing national holidays out of the staffs’ collective consciousness get their heads around the concept of a rota system?

Nope, unless all the staff bowl up to look, blank-eyed and earnest at an Excel sheet for 14 hours a day, holiday or not, civilization will crumble around us.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ten days off! I am so glad I am single with no kids!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Unbelievable. This country can make the Walkman and Hybrid cars, but can't figure out holiday time or what to do about childcare. Phshhhh!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Scheduled to begin Saturday, April 27, and run through Monday, May 6, people working in medical and nursing care services, tourism staff and beauticians, among others, will in many cases have to work right through the break.

So I take this as these industries are "essential" while childcare is not. Not that this is any surprise given this administration's track record.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

While the government seems to have decreed the holiday without giving much thought to the issue, 

Does the government give much thought to any issue?

What Japan STILL doesn't understand is that letting EVERYBODY take a holiday at once causes problems. Lunchtime, EVERYONE rushes out 12 pm to get their bentou, which causes huge lines in front of the convenience stores or crammed cafes.

Let people eat lunch later or earlier. Let people take days of earlier or later. Jesus Christ it's not rocketscience.

19 ( +19 / -0 )


Great post but far toooo logical as tij.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

the government seems to have decreed the holiday without giving much thought to the issue, 

The government passed a bill without giving it much thought? That's so hard to believe, NOT!

Companies will just have to suck it up and let their staff take time off. I can understand these families complaining about daycare centers being closed, but surely at least one parent will get the time off. One of my friends is actually really angry about this extended break and it will cost his company in excess of ¥1 million yen in lost productivity due to having to close the doors for the extended period. I told him to sue the government to recoup his lost earnings. "lol" :D

Oh, by the way, who remembers Premium Friday?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It's funny that a whole society has not a clue what to do with time off, have to ask the government what to do? The government have no idea? Asking a group of 70 years olds what to do with free time they have no idea. Open brown bags I guess.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

So make it illegal for working parents with childcare to work over those government holidays. Simple.

If a working parent has childcare, give them the national holiday. End of story.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

You can blame companies for not giving people time off however it is a fact that many companies cannot afford to close for 10 days. The government did take this all too lightly and will not save small companies from the financial difficulty or bankruptcy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really it's so funny! What do I do if I'm not allowed to work? Confusion, idiots.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

many companies cannot afford to close for 10 days

Offices do not need to open during national holidays. But as usual there is manager pressure for people to go in on weekends and holidays. It should just be law that ANY business must give a parent with childcare the holiday.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

as most nurseries and kindergartens will be closed.

This is no surprise. Teachers always get all the holidays off.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

One of the ironies I've Always noticed here is that despite most Japanese and some non-Japanese claiming (without having been elsewhere in some cases) Japan is the safest place in the world, people scoff at the idea of babysitting.

Parent: "What?? Leave my baby with someone I hardly know? Forget it! I ONLY leave my baby with an unlicensed, cheaper, understaffed day care center!"

Well, this is what you get. Hard to blame them, though. I mean, parents can't even trust their kids to study for tests and aren't allowed to do anything when a child is in their third year of junior high or high school.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Unbelievable. This country can make the Walkman and Hybrid cars, but can't figure out holiday time or what to do about childcare. Phshhhh!

Those were ideas by radicals (outsiders) in Japanese industry. Mainstream ideas and organisation are awful.

Most countries handle holiday time badly with imposed public holidays rather than let people take holidays when it good for them and the business they work for.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Everyone must suffer equally. That’s how it is here. If you can’t vacation neither can I. If you can, I must also vacation at the same exact time as you. How else would everywhere we would want to go know to raise prices only for those days?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Why not have communities have (young) elderly care for the children for a bit. I think around my city they have a service like this for those in need of a few hour break. Prople on pensions won’t likely be going anywhere during the vacation because they know how insane it is to travel then and would be glad to be of service.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Unbelievable!!! You get given a golden goose (ie extended holiday from a conservative government), and yet there are people saying the golden eggs are too heavy to carry.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If America was really serious about reducing the trade imbalance with Japan, it would begin by quantifying the total value accruing to Japan Inc. of each one of these elsewhere taken for granted but here foregone holidays and all the unpaid “service” overtime that constitutes the greatest structural impediment. Japan will only willingly change its ways when external pressure is brought to bear and the rigged playing field that ensures public holidays are seen as troublesome is finally ended.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

If some really feel guilty or at a loss at what to do over the holidays, why not volunteer for charity work?

Help the homeless, soup kitchens etc.

Otherwise, relax and enjoy what you are lucky to have in your lives.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Personally would love to see all those folks in the service industry go on strike during the extended break.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Now, now, people. Let's take a deep breather and come up with more good ideas that may help. This ten-day break is going to cause a lot of problems. However, I agree with the accountants staying out of the office. Service industry, though, not going to happen. Could use a lot more daycare for the tykes, it would seem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Educator60, it kind of is! Don't you see that an extended holiday raises questions about what to do? And many people have no idea? Free time is not available most Japanese people have never had it that's why a serious number of consecutive days off causes confusion.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why saying 10 days holidays?

There are 4 days of weekend and already 3 days from standard Golden Week.

It is a mere 3 additional days, or have I missed something?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why saying 10 days holidays?

There are 4 days of weekend and already 3 days from standard Golden Week.

It is a mere 3 additional days, or have I missed something?

You are missing something. April 30th and May 2nd became "holiday"s because of the Japanese law that states any single day between two national holidays becomes a holiday itself. So the government made May 1st a holiday this year making it a 10 day straight break.

Putting it all together makes it a hell of a lot harder for many families who have to work and there is no child care available.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Premium Golden week. A failure like premium Friday.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

People know what to do during their time off. The article is about what doing if you hav kids and must work.

A problem I see is that by having a 10 days off, many employees will refrain more than before to take their due paid holidays, knowing that next year Shogatsu will also be a 9 days off period

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why saying 10 days holidays?

There are 4 days of weekend and already 3 days from standard Golden Week.

It is a mere 3 additional days, or have I missed something?


0 ( +1 / -1 )


Thanks for the maths :-)

But for me 10 days holidays means 2 full weeks vacations, not 1 week in-between 2 weekends.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

for me 10 days holidays means 2 full weeks vacations, not 1 week in-between 2 weekends.

That would be 14 days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It would be an honorable thing, if the Emperor to be, forked out to provide temporary care centers for Kids (local sports centers are ideal places - like in my own Childhood).... anything else, would be an utter inconvenience... which is not the Japanese way.... (perhaps it's intentional?)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ClippetyClop nailed it

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japanese can spare time for extra day off, their economy will go down

This means UK economy is far better with so many holidays taken in a year.

Spring (Mar - May) - 2 weeks

Summer (June - Sep) - 3 weeks

Autumn (Mid Sep - Nov) - 1 week

Winter (Dec - Feb) - 2 weeks

Extra Season/Festival - 1 week

This is the almost perfect holidays.

But this depends upon people according to the season they prefer

9-10 weeks Holidays in a year is good enough for yourself and family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why saying 10 days holidays?

There are 4 days of weekend and already 3 days from standard Golden Week.

It is a mere 3 additional days, or have I missed something?

I agree with you. People are getting a week off plus the following Monday. Of course, weekends here are so rarely "holidays." Kids going to club activities or juku, salarymen going in on Saturdays. But in my world your "holidays" equal the days you normally work that you're getting off. While 6 days off sounds tremendous in Japan, many in the west have been taking their 2 weeks annual leave in one chunk for years and yet the world continues to turn on its axis. Not to mention places like France with their annual sabbaticals.

Not to make light of those in the service industry etc. with kids--it is something that needs to be addressed--but there will always be some who are unhappy about anything and it's the media's greatest duty to air their grievances. No doubt the vast majority of Japanese are thrilled to have a long break--some of my in laws are going to Okinawa, others to Canada.

The inflexibility of the service industry is what gets me. I have a brother in law back home who works for a big box store. When his kid has long holidays, he and my sister simply divide up the days off they'll need to take. He can use his leave anytime he wants and if he doesn't have enough he can trade shifts with coworkers or make it up himself by working additional shifts ahead of/after the time desired off. Imagine the look of astonishment on the face of your Uniqlo or Family Mart manager if you brought up this ideas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But for me 10 days holidays means 2 full weeks vacations, not 1 week in-between 2 weekends.

Welcome to Japan! Far too many people who come here think that "weekends" automatically mean Sat and Sun off! That's not so.

I would take too long of a post to give it in details but I will share a couple of points; one, Saturday's are not "automatically" off here. When a national holiday lands on a Saturday there is no corresponding day off ahead of time, like other countries have. The only time a day is given off is when the holiday falls on a Sunday, then the next day, Monday would be the "observed" day off.

The 10 days off is inclusive of weekends and maybe if you noticed, May 5th, is "Children's Day" and it falls on a Sunday, so Monday the 6th is off.

So it's Saturday 27th of April to Monday May 6th, 10 days in a row, inclusive of weekends and holidays.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Small companies can't afford to close for 10 straight days," said the woman. Sure they can! All we are saying is give life a chance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Giving all public services such as city office, banks, clinics and hospitals 10 days off all at the same time is kind of ridiculous. So we cannot go to the bank or the clinic for 10 day, just can't imagine the lines of people waiting after that holiday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are plenty of people who will not get any extra time off over the extended holidays - police, hospitals, emergency services, shop workers, restaurant workers, transport staff, to name a few.

It isn't a question of not knowing what to do with the extra free time, it's a question of what to do with the kids when both parents are working and all the schools, kindergartens, day cares, gakudo, etc., are closed. We'll probably have the grandkids staying with us, but not everyone has family close by.

The guvmint did not think this one out properly. No surprise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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