After hearing about the complaint, the company's CEO, Takao Asuka, made a decision to give nonsmoking employees time off to compensate. It was apparently unfair that smokers spent 15 minutes each for a cigarette break, which meant they spent 40 minutes a day away from their desks.
American companies have typically taken a more punitive stance on smoking, charging workers who use tobacco more for insurance and outlawing smoking on company property.
Piala Inc., a Tokyo-based online marketing company, unveiled the benefit to its workforce in September after receiving complaints from non-smokers that their counterparts were enjoying far more breaks during the workday.
Non-smokers always talk about the extra time smokers take off from work, which they are deprived.
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Piala Inc.'s headquarters are located on the 29th floor of an office complex, and employees who need a smoke break have to travel to the basement. In addition, four employees have started smoking cessation programmes since the scheme's introduction.
"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", Piala Inc chief executive Takao Asuka told Kyodo News.
Company spokesperson Hirotaka Matsushima told the Telegraph that the idea came from a company suggestion box.
The change in company policy is meant to encourage staff to quit smoking.
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However, it's unclear whether those results would translate directly to Japan where 21.7 percent of Japanese adults smoke.
Earlier this year, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike said he planned to impose a smoking ban in public places across city ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
In Japan, while smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars without any designated smoking area, it is banned on the streets. Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures.
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