Training day: Japan officials embrace sneakers to promote fitness

No time to exercise? Japanese government officials say they have a simple starter solution: wear sneakers and walk to work.

Japanese employees work notoriously long hours in a culture where suits are ubiquitous.

But on Wednesday officials at the Japan Sports Agency arrived at their offices sporting trainers and backpacks -- part of a new nationwide campaign to promote fitness among workers who are too busy to exercise regularly.

"We're encouraging people who don't have enough time to do sports to start by simply walking," a spokeswoman told AFP.

"So we're saying, 'let's start walking by changing shoes,'" she said.

A total of 30 officials, including 50-year-old chief Daichi Suzuki, also walked up to the 13th floor where their office is located.

According to the sports agency, only 30 percent of people aged between 20 and 49 exercise at least once a week.

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