Japanese women ditch Valentine's tradition of 'obligation chocolate'

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Tokyo: Japanese women have ditched a workplace tradition that dictates they must give chocolates to male colleagues on Valentine's Day, with growing anger at the practice of "forced giving," the media reported on Monday.

The tradition is called "giri choco" which literally means "obligation chocolates", the Guardian reported.

Some companies were now banning the practice, which is seen by many workers as a form of abuse of power and harassment.

A survey found that more than 60 per cent of women will instead buy chocolates as a personal treat on February 14.

More than 56 per cent said they would give chocolates to family members, while 36 per cent would make the same gesture towards their partners.

Only 35 per cent said they planned to hand out chocolates to men at their workplace, according to the survey conducted by a Tokyo-based department store.

"Before the ban, we had to worry about things like how much is appropriate to spend on each chocolate and where we draw the line in who we give the chocolates to, so it's good that we no longer have this culture of forced giving," one of the surveyed office workers said.

Giving chocolate as Valentine's Day gift took off commercially in Japan in the mid-1950s, growing into a multimillion-dollar market.

Japan Airlines will hand out chocolates to passengers - male and female - on all of its domestic and international flights on February 14, while a hot spring resort near Tokyo has unveiled a bath filled with steaming "chocolate water".

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