The Reading / Listening - Working Hours - Level 5

Japan is backing an initiative to ease the pressure on workers and at the same time boost consumer spending. The measure is called "Premium Friday". Japan's government said workers would be encouraged to leave work earlier on the last Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan are participating, including many major employers. Doubters are unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the legendary workaholic nature of Japanese workers. A spokesman told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take root."



Premium Friday was partly prompted by the suicide of a man who was continually told to work excessive overtime at an ad agency. A court said the suicide was "death by overwork". It stressed the need to address the problem of overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a meditation session at 3:30 p.m. The government said it was essential for both the government and the private sector to make workers feel comfortable in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays to finish their work.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Working Hours - Level 4 or  Working Hours - Level 6

Sources
  • http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/24/national/premium-friday-drive-kicks-off-energize-weary-workers-feeble-economy/
  • http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-overwork-reforms-idUSKBN1630OC
  • https://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/japans-first-premium-friday-shows-mixed-results


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. backing
  2. ease the
  3. boost consumer
  4. on the last Friday
  5. Doubters are
  6. whether the scheme will succeed
  7. the legendary workaholic nature
  8. time for Premium Friday to take
  1. pressure on workers
  2. unsure
  3. root
  4. of Japanese workers
  5. of each month
  6. an initiative
  7. or not
  8. spending

Paragraph 2

  1. partly prompted by the
  2. continually told to work
  3. the suicide was
  4. It stressed the need to address
  5. a meditation
  6. the private
  7. make workers feel comfortable
  8. they would just have to
  1. the problem
  2. "death by overwork"
  3. in leaving early
  4. sector
  5. suicide of a man
  6. work on Saturdays
  7. excessive overtime
  8. session

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Japan is backing (1) ___________________ the pressure on workers and at the same time boost (2) ___________________. The measure is called "Premium Friday". Japan's government said workers would be encouraged to leave (3) ___________________ the last Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 (4) ___________________ Japan are participating, including many major employers. Doubters are unsure whether the scheme will (5) ___________________ because of the legendary workaholic nature of Japanese workers. A spokesman told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday (6) ___________________."

Premium Friday was (7) ___________________ by the suicide of a man who was continually told to work excessive (8) ___________________ ad agency. A court said the suicide was "death by overwork". It stressed the (9) ___________________ the problem of overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promoted the campaign by leaving (10) ___________________ for a meditation session at 3:30 p.m. The government said it was essential for both the government and (11) ___________________ to make workers feel comfortable in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just (12) ___________________ Saturdays to finish their work.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Japanisbackinganinitiativetoeasethepressureonworkersandatthesa
metimeboostconsumerspending.Themeasureiscalled"PremiumFrid
ay".Japan'sgovernmentsaidworkerswouldbeencouragedtoleavewor
kearlieronthelastFridayofeachmonthtorelaxand/orgoshopping.Arou
nd130companiesacrossJapanareparticipating,includingmanymajor
employers.Doubtersareunsurewhethertheschemewillsucceedornot
becauseofthelegendaryworkaholicnatureofJapaneseworkers.Aspok
esmantoldreporters:"ItwilltaketimeforPremiumFridaytotakeroot."P
remiumFridaywaspartlypromptedbythesuicideofamanwhowasconti
nuallytoldtoworkexcessiveovertimeatanadagency.Acourtsaidthesui
cidewas"deathbyoverwork".Itstressedtheneedtoaddresstheproble
mofoverworking.Japan'sPrimeMinisterShinzoAbepromotedthecam
paignbyleavingtheofficeearlyforameditationsessionat3:30p.m.The
governmentsaiditwasessentialforboththegovernmentandtheprivat
esectortomakeworkersfeelcomfortableinleavingearly.However,ma
nyworkerssaidtheywouldjusthavetoworkonSaturdaystofinishtheirw
ork.

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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