With fiscal policy having run its course, the central bank running out of ideas, a sluggish national economy and a continuing declining birth rate, the Japanese government has now turned to reforming the lifestyles and working styles of millions of Japanese. By including in its latest annual economic policy guidelines recommendations that companies permit their staff to opt for a four-day work week, the Japanese government expects to boost productivity without aggravating "death by overwork," otherwise known as "karoshi."

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