Oote Boe Photography / Alamy
Caroline Hallemann
March 24, 2015

As if the upcoming cherry blossom season and Shinobu Namae’s new bistro in Tokyo weren’t enough to make everybody want to move to Japan, the government is now considering a plan to require employees to take vacation. Sign us up.

In an effort to combat karoshi, a cultural issue that literally translates to  “death by overwork,” legislators are prepping laws that would make it mandatory for workers to take five days off a year.

The intense Japanese work ethic recently saw the spotlight when a video diary made by a “salaryman” in Tokyo went viral. A summary of his week? He doesn’t sleep much. These employees are always expected to put the company first, sacrificing time with family and friends and even their health for the bottom line.

Details like when the law might go into effect or how it would be enforced are scant, but the beginnings of the national conversation appear promising.

Similarly, nearly half of Americans didn’t take a single day of paid time off in 2014, citing that they “would come back to a mountain of work” as the number one challenge in taking PTO.

Caroline Hallemann is the Assistant Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.

You May Like