The Reading / Listening - Working Hours - Level 6

Japan's government has backed an initiative to ease the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously boost consumer spending. The new measure is called "Premium Friday". A spokesperson from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would encourage workers to leave work earlier on the last Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have signed up to participate in the initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics are unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous workaholic nature of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take root."



The idea for Premium Friday was partly prompted by the suicide of an employee who was continually required to work excessive overtime at the ad agency Dentsu. A court ruled the suicide was "death by overwork" and stressed the need to address what is a common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading by example. He promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a meditation session at a Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was essential for both the government and the private sector to create an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays instead to finish their work.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Working Hours - Level 4  or  Working Hours - Level 5

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 :-)



Warm-ups

1. WORKING HOURS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about working hours. Change partners often and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?

       initiative / pressure / workers / consumer spending / campaign / relax / workaholic /
       suicide / employee / overtime / meditation / temple / private sector / atmosphere

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. OVERTIME: Students A strongly believe overtime should be banned; Students B strongly believe it shouldn't.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

4. WORKING CONDITIONS: How could these be better? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

How they could be better

Would companies be happy?

Hours

 

 

Salary

 

 

Overtime

 

 

Bonuses

 

 

Bosses

 

 

Promotion

 

 

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ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. WORKAHOLIC: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "workaholic". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. WORKERS' STRESS: Rank these with your partner. Put the biggest workers' stresses at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • boredom
  • meetings
  • no promotion
  • customers
  • overtime
  • boss
  • colleagues
  • deadlines

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if a-h below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Japan wants to give workers time off and boost consumer spending.     T / F
  2. Workers can now leave work early every Friday to go shopping.     T / F
  3. About 130 companies have joined a scheme to let workers off early.     T / F
  4. A spokesman said it would take time for the plan to take root.     T / F
  5. The initiative was partly because of the suicide of a worker.     T / F
  6. A court said the worker had not done too much overtime.     T / F
  7. Japan's Prime Minister did not leave the office early.     T / F
  8. Many workers said they would not go into work on Saturdays.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. backed
  2. ease
  3. skeptics
  4. infamous
  5. take root
  6. idea
  7. excessive
  8. ruled
  9. essential
  10. just
  1. concept
  2. become established
  3. unreasonable
  4. judged
  5. supported
  6. doubters
  7. vital
  8. relieve
  9. simply
  10. well-known

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. Japan's government has backed
  2. ease the
  3. simultaneously boost consumer
  4. Skeptics are
  5. It will take time for Premium Friday to take
  6. partly prompted by the
  7. continually required to work
  8. the need to address what
  9. a meditation
  10. create an atmosphere where
  1. root
  2. spending
  3. workers feel comfortable
  4. suicide of an employee
  5. is a common problem
  6. an initiative
  7. session
  8. pressure
  9. excessive overtime
  10. unsure

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
last
succeed
ease
root
encourage
workaholic
measure
participate

Japan's government has backed an initiative to (1) ____________ the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously boost consumer spending. The new (2) ____________ is called "Premium Friday". A spokesperson from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would (3) ____________ workers to leave work earlier on the (4) ____________ Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have signed up to (5) ____________ in the initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics are unsure whether the scheme will (6) ____________ or not because of the infamous (7) ____________ nature of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take (8) ____________."

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
essential
ruled
comfortable
partly
address
sector
excessive
example

The idea for Premium Friday was (9) ____________ prompted by the suicide of an employee who was continually required to work (10) ____________ overtime at the ad agency Dentsu. A court (11) ____________ the suicide was "death by overwork" and stressed the need to (12) ____________ what is a common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading by (13) ____________. He promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a meditation session at a Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was (14) ____________ for both the government and the private (15) ____________ to create an atmosphere where workers feel (16) ____________ in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays instead to finish their work.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  Japan's government has backed an initiative to ease the ______ workers
     a.  pressure in Japanese
     b.  pressured on Japanese
     c.  pressure on Japanese
     d.  pressure on a Japanese

2) the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would ______
     a.  encourages workers
     b.  encourage worker
     c.  encouraged workers
     d.  encourage workers

3)  Around 130 companies across Japan have signed up to participate ______
     a.  on the initiative
     b.  in an initiative
     c.  in the initiative
     d.  in the initial tiff

4) unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous ______
     a.  workaholic nature
     b.  work-alcoholic nature
     c.  worker holly nature
     d.  work a holy nature

5)  Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday ______."
     a.  to take loot
     b.  to take rude
     c.  to take root
     d.  to take lute

6)  The idea for Premium Friday was partly prompted by the suicide ______
     a.  off the employee
     b.  of an employee
     c.  off a employee
     d.  of an employed

7)  A court ruled the suicide was "______"
     a.  death by overwork
     b.  death to overwork
     c.  death of overwork
     d.  death but overwork

8)  He promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a ______
     a.  meditation season
     b.  meditation section
     c.  meditation suction
     d.  meditation session

9)  Mr Suga said it was essential for both the government and ______
     a.  the private sector
     b.  the privacy sector
     c.  the privates sector
     d.  the privy sector

10)  create an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable ______
     a.  on leaving early
     b.  in leaving early
     c.  to leaving early
     d.  of leaving early

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Japan's government has backed (1) ___________________ ease the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously boost consumer spending. The new (2) ___________________ "Premium Friday". A spokesperson from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would encourage workers to leave (3) ___________________ the last Friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have (4) ___________________ participate in the initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics (5) ___________________ the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous workaholic nature of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday (6) ___________________."

The idea for Premium Friday was partly prompted (7) ___________________ employee who was continually required to work excessive overtime at the ad agency Dentsu. A court ruled the suicide was (8) ___________________ and stressed the (9) ___________________ what is a common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading by example. He promoted the campaign by leaving the (10) ___________________ meditation session at a Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was essential for both the government and the private sector (11) ___________________ atmosphere where workers feel comfortable in leaving early. However, many workers said they would just (12) ___________________ Saturdays instead to finish their work.

Comprehension questions

  1. What does the Japanese government want to ease?
  2. What does the Japanese government want to boost?
  3. How many companies have signed up to Premium Friday?
  4. What are Japanese workers infamous for being?
  5. What did a spokesman say it would take time for the scheme to do?
  6. What partly prompted the Premium Friday scheme?
  7. What did a court rule that the death was caused by?
  8. Where did Japan's Prime Minister go when he left the office early?
  9. How is it essential for workers to feel?
  10. What did workers say they would do if they left early on Fridays?




Multiple choice quiz

1) What does the Japanese government want to ease?
a) spending
b) the pressure on workers
c) laws
d) taxes

2) What does the Japanese government want to boost?
a) measures
b) pressure
c) its image
d) consumer spending

3) How many companies have signed up to Premium Friday?
a) exactly 130
b) no more than 130
c) around 130
d) at least 130

4) What are Japanese workers infamous for being?
a) workaholics
b) fast
c) employees
d) excessive

5) What did a spokesman say it would take time for the scheme to do?
a) branch out
b) take root
c) bud and flower
d) germinate

6) What partly prompted the Premium Friday scheme?
a) a worker's suicide
b) Premium Monday
c) an overtime ban
d) an example

7) What did a court rule that the death was caused by?
a) a faulty wire
b) natural causes
c) overwork
d) a bad boss

8) Where did Japan's Prime Minister go when he left the office early?
a) a temple
b) a hot spring
c) a gold course
d) to see a baseball game

9) How is it essential for workers to feel (according to the article)?
a) busy
b) warm
c) appreciated
d) comfortable

10) What did workers say they would do if they left early on Fridays?
a) sleep
b) party
c) work on Saturdays
d) finish their work

Role play

Role A — Overtime

You think overtime is the biggest stress for workers. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them how their things can be less stressful. Also, tell the others which is the least stressful of these (and why): the boss, boredom or customers.

Role B — The Boss

You think the boss is the biggest stress for workers. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them how their things can be less stressful. Also, tell the others which is the least stressful of these (and why): overtime, boredom or customers.

Role C — Boredom

You think boredom is the biggest stress for workers. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them how their things can be less stressful. Also, tell the others which is the least stressful of these (and why): the boss, overtime or customers.

Role D — Customers

You think customers are the biggest stress for workers. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them how their things can be less stressful. Also, tell the others which is the least stressful of these (and why):  the boss, boredom or overtime.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'working'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'hour'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • partly
    • court
    • common
    • temple
    • feel
    • instead
    • ease
    • new
    • last
    • signed
    • major
    • root




    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 - Japan attempts to ease working hours

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

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What springs to mind when you hear the term 'working hours'?
    3. How much pressure is there on workers?
    4. What do you think of the name 'Premium Friday'?
    5. How much effect do you think Premium Friday will have?
    6. Why are skeptics unsure about Premium Friday?
    7. Why are Japanese people seen as workaholics?
    8. What are the good and bad things about being an alcoholic?
    9. How much of a workaholic are you?
    10. What advice do you have for Japanese workers?

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

    1. What do you think of when you hear the word 'premium'?
    2. What do you think about what you read?
    3. How much overtime is too much?
    4. Do employers have too much power over employees?
    5. How much of a problem is overworking in your country?
    6. What do you think of Shinzo Abe for leading by example?
    7. What would you do with a Friday afternoon off?
    8. Would you feel comfortable leaving work early?
    9. Why is Premium Friday at the end of the month when it's busy?
    10. What questions would you like to ask a workaholic?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

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

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

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

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Japan's government has (1) _____ an initiative to ease the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously (2) _____ consumer spending. The new measure is called "Premium Friday". A spokesperson from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would encourage workers to leave work earlier on the last Friday of each month to relax (3) _____ go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have signed (4) _____ to participate in the initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics are unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous workaholic (5) _____ of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take (6) _____."

    The idea for Premium Friday was (7) _____ prompted by the suicide of an employee who was continually required to work excessive overtime at the ad agency Dentsu. A court ruled the suicide was "death (8) _____ overwork" and stressed the need to address what is a common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is (9) _____ by example. He promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a meditation session at a Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was essential (10) _____ both the government and the private sector to create an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable (11) _____ leaving early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays (12) _____ to finish their work.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     sided     (b)     backed     (c)     fronted     (d)     upped    
    2. (a)     baste     (b)     boost     (c)     beast     (d)     best    
    3. (a)     neither/nor     (b)     so/such     (c)     to/from     (d)     and/or    
    4. (a)     down     (b)     up     (c)     so     (d)     as    
    5. (a)     natural     (b)     nature     (c)     naturally     (d)     naturism    
    6. (a)     leaf     (b)     stem     (c)     root     (d)     flower    
    7. (a)     parted     (b)     party     (c)     partly     (d)     parting    
    8. (a)     for     (b)     by     (c)     on     (d)     of    
    9. (a)     lending     (b)     lading     (c)     loading     (d)     leading    
    10. (a)     as     (b)     of     (c)     by     (d)     for    
    11. (a)     in     (b)     on     (c)     to     (d)     as    
    12. (a)     prefer     (b)     place     (c)     instead     (d)     alternative

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. backed an vtaieiniit
    2. ytnoaulusimsel boost consumer spending
    3. the campaign would aecgenour workers
    4. signed up to aitpacritpe
    5. the seechm will succeed
    6. the asnmfoui workaholic nature

    Paragraph 2

    1. the iediucs of an employee
    2. work viscexees overtime
    3. the need to saesddr what is a common problem
    4. a meditation snsseio
    5. it was taeslenis
    6. private sceotr

    Put the text back together

    (    )     boost   consumer   spending.   The   new   measure   is   called   "Premium   Friday".   A   spokesperson   from   the   Ministry   of

    (    )     workers.   Chief   Cabinet   Secretary   Yoshihide   Suga   told   reporters:   "It   will   take   time   for   Premium   Friday   to   take   root."

    (    )     succeed   or   not   because   of   the   infamous   workaholic   nature   of   Japanese

    1  )     Japan's   government   has   backed   an   initiative   to   ease   the   pressure   on   Japanese   workers   and   simultaneously

    (    )     earlier   on   the   last   Friday   of   each   month   to   relax   and/or   go   shopping.   Around   130   companies   across   Japan   have   signed

    (    )     temple   at   3:30   p.m.   Mr   Suga   said   it   was   essential   for   both   the   government   and   the   private   sector   to   create   an

    (    )     the   need   to   address   what   is   a   common   problem   in   Japan   -   overworking.   Japan's   Prime   Minister   Shinzo   Abe   is   leading

    (    )     by   example.   He   promoted   the   campaign   by   leaving   the   office   early   for   a   meditation   session   at   a   Tokyo

    (    )     up   to   participate   in   the   initiative,   including   many   major   employers.   Skeptics   are   unsure   whether   the   scheme   will

    (    )     workers   said   they   would   just   have   to   work   on   Saturdays   instead   to   finish   their   work.

    (    )     atmosphere   where   workers   feel   comfortable   in   leaving   early.   However,   many

    (    )     The   idea   for   Premium   Friday   was   partly   prompted   by   the   suicide   of   an   employee   who   was   continually   required

    (    )     Economy,   Trade   and   Industry   said   the   campaign   would   encourage   workers   to   leave   work

    (    )     to   work   excessive   overtime   at   the   ad   agency   Dentsu.   A   court   ruled   the   suicide   was   "death   by   overwork"   and   stressed

    Put the words in the right order

    1. An   Japanese   pressure   ease   initiative   workers   on   the   to   .
    2. Friday   month   earlier   last   each   work   the   of   Leave   on   .
    3. have   Japan   across   companies   130   Around   up   signed   .
    4. infamous   nature   Japanese   The   workaholic   of   workers   .
    5. Friday   root   take   Premium   take   will   for   to   It   time   .
    6. an   of   suicide   the   by   prompted   Partly   employee   .
    7. excessive   work   to   required   Continually   overtime   .
    8. suicide   ruled   overwork"   court   was   by   A   the   "death   .
    9. He   leaving   promoted   the   the   office   campaign   early   by   .
    10. Create   atmosphere   workers   comfortable   an   where   feel   .

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Japan's government has backed an initiative to easy / ease the pressure on Japanese workers and simultaneously boast / boost consumer spending. The new measure / measurement is called "Premium Friday". A spokesperson from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the campaign would encouraging / encourage workers to leave work earlier on the last / past Friday of each month to relax / relaxation and/or go shopping. Around 130 companies across Japan have singed / signed up to participate in the initiative, including many major employers. Skeptics are surely / unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous workaholic nature / natural of Japanese workers. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "It will take time for Premium Friday to take root / branch."

    The idea for Premium Friday was partly / party prompted by the suicide of an employee who was continually / continued required to work excessive overtime at the ad agency Dentsu. A court ruled  / ruling the suicide was "death by overwork" and stressed the need to address / envelope what is a common problem in Japan - overworking. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is leading at / by example. He promoted the campaign by  / to leaving the office early for a meditation season / session at a Tokyo temple at 3:30 p.m. Mr Suga said it was essential / essentially for both the government and the private sector to create an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable in leaving left / early. However, many workers said they would just have to work on Saturdays rather / instead to finish their work.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    J_p_n's g_v_rnm_nt h_s b_ck_d _n _n_t__t_v_ t_ __s_ th_ pr_ss_r_ _n J_p_n_s_ w_rk_rs _nd s_m_lt_n___sly b__st c_ns_m_r sp_nd_ng. Th_ n_w m__s_r_ _s c_ll_d "Pr_m__m Fr_d_y". _ sp_k_sp_rs_n fr_m th_ M_n_stry _f _c_n_my, Tr_d_ _nd _nd_stry s__d th_ c_mp__gn w__ld _nc__r_g_ w_rk_rs t_ l__v_ w_rk __rl__r _n th_ l_st Fr_d_y _f __ch m_nth t_ r_l_x _nd/_r g_ sh_pp_ng. _r__nd 130 c_mp_n__s _cr_ss J_p_n h_v_ s_gn_d _p t_ p_rt_c_p_t_ _n th_ _n_t__t_v_, _ncl_d_ng m_ny m_j_r _mpl_y_rs. Sk_pt_cs _r_ _ns_r_ wh_th_r th_ sch_m_ w_ll s_cc__d _r n_t b_c__s_ _f th_ _nf_m__s w_rk_h_l_c n_t_r_ _f J_p_n_s_ w_rk_rs. Ch__f C_b_n_t S_cr_t_ry Y_sh_h_d_ S_g_ t_ld r_p_rt_rs: "_t w_ll t_k_ t_m_ f_r Pr_m__m Fr_d_y t_ t_k_ r__t."

    Th_ _d__ f_r Pr_m__m Fr_d_y w_s p_rtly pr_mpt_d by th_ s__c_d_ _f _n _mpl_y__ wh_ w_s c_nt_n__lly r_q__r_d t_ w_rk _xc_ss_v_ _v_rt_m_ _t th_ _d _g_ncy D_nts_. _ c__rt r_l_d th_ s__c_d_ w_s "d__th by _v_rw_rk" _nd str_ss_d th_ n__d t_ _ddr_ss wh_t _s _ c_mm_n pr_bl_m _n J_p_n - _v_rw_rk_ng. J_p_n's Pr_m_ M_n_st_r Sh_nz_ _b_ _s l__d_ng by _x_mpl_. H_ pr_m_t_d th_ c_mp__gn by l__v_ng th_ _ff_c_ __rly f_r _ m_d_t_t__n s_ss__n _t _ T_ky_ t_mpl_ _t 3:30 p.m. Mr S_g_ s__d _t w_s _ss_nt__l f_r b_th th_ g_v_rnm_nt _nd th_ pr_v_t_ s_ct_r t_ cr__t_ _n _tm_sph_r_ wh_r_ w_rk_rs f__l c_mf_rt_bl_ _n l__v_ng __rly. H_w_v_r, m_ny w_rk_rs s__d th_y w__ld j_st h_v_ t_ w_rk _n S_t_rd_ys _nst__d t_ f_n_sh th__r w_rk.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    japan's government has backed an initiative to ease the pressure on japanese workers and simultaneously boost consumer spending the new measure is called "premium friday" a spokesperson from the ministry of economy trade and industry said the campaign would encourage workers to leave work earlier on the last friday of each month to relax and/or go shopping around 130 companies across japan have signed up to participate in the initiative including many major employers skeptics are unsure whether the scheme will succeed or not because of the infamous workaholic nature of japanese workers chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga told reporters "it will take time for premium friday to take root"

    the idea for premium friday was partly prompted by the suicide of an employee who was continually required to work excessive overtime at the ad agency dentsu a court ruled the suicide was "death by overwork" and stressed the need to address what is a common problem in japan - overworking japan's prime minister shinzo abe is leading by example he promoted the campaign by leaving the office early for a meditation session at a tokyo temple at 330 pm mr suga said it was essential for both the government and the private sector to create an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable in leaving early however many workers said they would just have to work on saturdays instead to finish their work

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Japan'sgovernmenthasbackedaninitiativetoeasethepressureonJapa
    neseworkersandsimultaneouslyboostconsumerspending.Thenewm
    easureiscalled"PremiumFriday".AspokespersonfromtheMinistryofE
    conomy,TradeandIndustrysaidthecampaignwouldencourageworker
    stoleaveworkearlieronthelastFridayofeachmonthtorelaxand/orgosh
    opping.Around130companiesacrossJapanhavesigneduptoparticipat
    eintheinitiative,includingmanymajoremployers.Skepticsareunsure
    whethertheschemewillsucceedornotbecauseoftheinfamousworkaho
    licnatureofJapaneseworkers.ChiefCabinetSecretaryYoshihideSugat
    oldreporters:"ItwilltaketimeforPremiumFridaytotakeroot."Theideaf
    orPremiumFridaywaspartlypromptedbythesuicideofanemployeewh
    owascontinuallyrequiredtoworkexcessiveovertimeattheadagencyD
    entsu.Acourtruledthesuicidewas"deathbyoverwork"andstressedthe
    needtoaddresswhatisacommonprobleminJapan-overworking.Ja
    pan'sPrimeMinisterShinzoAbeisleadingbyexample.Hepromotedthec
    ampaignbyleavingtheofficeearlyforameditationsessionataTokyote
    mpleat3:30p.m.MrSugasaiditwasessentialforboththegovernmenta
    ndtheprivatesectortocreateanatmospherewhereworkersfeelcomfor
    tableinleavingearly.However,manyworkerssaidtheywouldjusthavet
    oworkonSaturdaysinsteadtofinishtheirwork.

    Free writing

    Write about working hours for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    It should be illegal for anyone to work over 35 hours a week. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Premium Friday. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

    3. WORKING HOURS: Make a poster about working hours. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

    4. OVERWORKING: Write a magazine article about fining companies that make their workers do too much overtime. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against it.

    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on workaholics. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your ideas on how people can avoid becoming workaholics. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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