Canon has given its official reaction to press reports that it allows its staff in Japan to leave work early ?twice a week to have sex?.

When Amateur Photographer contacted Canon?s UK office to find out what the fuss was about, a spokeswoman jokingly informed us that we would have to be quick because she was ‘just off home for the afternoon?.

During the conversation it emerged that Canon UK staff are also allowed to leave work an hour early one day a week – but only during the summer months – to ?spend time with their family?. This rule applies up to a maximum of eight days for each staff member, she said.

The UK spokeswoman then read out an official ?reactive statement? to stories that have appeared on the internet about her colleagues in Japan.

?Canon recognises that employees need to strike a balance between their working and private lives and encourages a work style that does not require staying at the office beyond regular business hours,? she told us.

?To promote this objective in Japan, the company introduced a twice-weekly ?no overtime policy? in which employees are encouraged to leave soon after the official end of the work day.?

She said that the policy was first introduced at selected Canon sites in the early 1980s before being rolled out to all the company?s offices throughout Japan.

The statement added: ?In short the aim of Canon?s ?no overtime? day policy is to promote the enjoyment of lives outside the working place.?

The UK spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the statement.

The story sounds a lighthearted note among the doom and gloom news that surrounds the current economic crisis.