More women in Japan seem to have abandoned the tradition of obligatory gifts of chocolate for male colleagues, according to Japan Today.
A survey conducted by Japan's ANN News website revealed that some 35 percent of male and female workers consider the tradition to be a form of "power harassment," the report says.
Valentine's Day in Japan has its national specifics. On 14 February, women traditionally give their male colleagues an obligatory chocolate gift, known as "giri choco," or, literally, "obligatory chocolate." Their significant others receive "honmei choco," or "true feelings chocolate," the newspaper says.
According to tradition, men are supposed to return the favor with a small gift one month later, on 14 March, called "White Day" in Japan. However, since women have to lead the way, they feel pressured to make sure all the right friends and colleagues receive gifts, so that no offense is caused. Besides, buying all those sweets is a burden on the wallet, the report says.
"Before the office ban, we had to worry about things like how much is appropriate to spend on each chocolate and where we draw the line in whom we give the chocolates to, so it's good that we no longer have this culture of forced giving," one woman from a company that introduced such ban told ANN News.
The controversy has even caused Godiva, a major Belgian chocolate producer, to issue a booklet asking the women of Japan to stop buying so much chocolate on 14 February, Sora News 24 reported last year.