Japan wants workers to stay at home whenever possible

Japan’s economy minister also called on business leaders to comply with COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
By: | July 27, 2020

The Japan government is calling on all businesses in the country to adhere to the target of having 70% or more of their employees working from home.

Highlighting how commuter numbers, which fell to 20-30% of previous levels when Japan’s lockdown was still in place, has now rebounded back to about 70%, Economic Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, “We really don’t want to backtrack on this, so we have to explore new ways of working and keep telecommuting high.”

He also called on businesses to refrain from holding large-scale gatherings, promote staggered commuting, ensure employees with poor health conditions stay at home, and promote the introduction of a contact-tracing smartphone app introduced by Japan’s health ministry.

READ: COVID-19 depresses real wages in Japan

A recent online survey of 10,128 people conducted by the Japanese government found that 34.6% have been telecommuting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a high proportion (55%) of respondents based in the Tokyo area continuing to work remotely.

The respondents also identified the acceleration of digitisation and work-style reforms as key to making remote working a success, the survey reported.

The Japanese government is also expected to hold a meeting of experts on Aug 5 to analyse the effects of the state of emergency put in place between early April and late May to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.