Some workers in Japan are enjoying an early start to their weekend under a new initiative to encourage a better work-life balance.

Company and government offices were encouraged to let employees leave at 3 p.m. on Friday. The early end to the day is dubbed "Premium Friday," and is supposed to happen on the last Friday of every month.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike (Koh-ee-keh) led about 100 office workers in a champagne toast as the clock struck three at a cafe in the Japanese capital's central business district. She said it would be wonderful if the initiative changes the way people work.

Bars, restaurants, stores and travel agents are among those hoping that it will also stimulate spending by consumers.