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Photo Journal: Premium Friday fun

(Mainichi)

Workers raise glasses of beer at 3 p.m. on the first ever "Premium Friday," in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Feb. 24, 2017. Premium Friday is the name of a new government initiative -- whereby workers are encouraged to leave work early at 3 p.m. on the last Friday of each month -- in an attempt to increase consumer spending and also to address the issue of work-life balance in Japan. A number of bars, restaurants and shops participated positively in Premium Friday. For example, at the "Master's Dream House" restaurant in Chiyoda Ward, customers were given their first glass of beer for free. At around 3 p.m., about 10 workers who had gathered in the restaurant raised their glasses to mark the first ever day of the new initiative. A female advertising company worker, 27, said, "It's a luxury to be able to start drinking beer when it is still light outside. Next time, I want to go traveling." According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry -- which is backing Premium Friday -- 130 companies (as of Feb. 23) are participating in the initiative. (Mainichi)

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