Japan launched national exercise to ease Tokyo 2020 congestion

Vastavam web: Japan today launched a national exercise to encourage tens of thousands of commuters to work from home, in a bid to ease rail and road congestion before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and reform the country’s workaholic culture. About a quarter of the population of 127 million live in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures. The public-private “Telework Day” involved some 60,000 workers at more than 900 companies, organisations and government offices, according to the internal affairs ministry. They worked from home, skipping their usual habit of commuting in notoriously packed trains or driving personal cars to the office.

The plan is also part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to rethink Japan’s workaholic tradition, where mostly male workers are routinely expected to spend long hours in the office and have little time with their families. The government earlier this year unveiled its first-ever initiative to limit overtime in a bid to tackle “karoshi”, or death from overwork. It hopes that once the Olympics are over, more people will telecommute as a lasting legacy. “Some people may say they felt some effect (on reducing congestion) this morning, while others say they felt no difference