What Is ‘Telework Day’ and How Will It Ease Traffic Congestion in Japan?

  • Japanese people have a stringent work style. It is very common for employees to work long hours every single day. With many people commuting to work on a daily basis, it puts a heavy burden on traffic conditions. Because of this, a campaign has recently been made to designate July 24 of every year towards 2020 as “Telework Day (テレワーク・デイ).” Instead of going to the office on that day, employees will be allowed to work from home. The purpose of this is to alleviate the traffic congestion, especially during the upcoming 2020 Tokyo (東京) Olympics.

    Traffic Situation in Japan

    Japan has one of the heaviest traffic conditions around the world, especially in its cities. Traffic conditions are very bad that it gets you stuck on the road for a long period of time. This is the reason why many people prefer to use trains rather than cars or buses on their way to work. Trains can also be congested but are very reliable and are usually on time.

    There’s a huge number of people rushing into cities such as Tokyo to go to work and this further increases the traffic burden. Most places are routinely congested, especially during rush hours. The traffic can be intimidating which makes it an issue for most people.

    What is teleworking?


    Teleworking is nothing new for some companies around the world. It is something that allows employees to work from home or from a telework center using certain communication tools. Some companies in Japan have already employed this kind of system, but the government is urging more employers to follow as well. This includes both private and public offices.

    Telework Day

    The new campaign introduces July 24 as “Telework Day” as this is the first official day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Telework Day aims to allow employees to have a different kind of work style, encouraging them to work from home until at least 10:30 in the morning. This will also encourage them to use information technology in conducting their work.

    For 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is targeting a total number of 1,000 companies to join the campaign. This will be gradually expanded every year until 2020.

    The government is trying to introduce the idea of teleworking to Japanese companies in hopes of easing the morning commuters’ rush, balancing the life of workers, and shortening their chronically long working hours. However, as of now, many companies are reluctant to adopt the system as they are concerned about staff supervision.

    Furthermore, Telework Day will help loosen the work system in the country and allow more flexibility to workers. It will also attract more foreign people who are interested in visiting the country as fewer traffic jams will be experienced. Lastly, it’s a great preparation for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    What do you think of the telework system and the Telework Day campaign? Do you think it can truly ease the traffic congestion in Japan?

    Telework Day Website *Japanese only

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