More firms in Japan rethink employee transfer policies

The prevalence of remote work is making companies in Japan revamp or revise their employee transfer systems.
By: | September 23, 2022

Approximately 44% of companies in Japan have revamped or are considering revising their employee transfer systems with ways of working not tied to a specific location gaining ground because of remote work, according to a survey by the Mainichi Shimbun.

This signals a major transformation of the conventional terms of employment in Japan, as even major firms take a hard look at systems allowing workers to live well outside of commuting distance from their office. 

The survey was conducted from early June to early July this year, targeting 126 major Japanese companies in the steel, electrical, automotive, financial, and other industries, and 104 companies responded. 

The companies used to require all transferred workers to physically relocate.

However, when asked about what direction their transfer protocols had taken after January 2020, when the coronavirus was first confirmed in Japan, 12 companies, including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), JTB and Mitsubishi Electric, responded that they had revamped their systems. In addition, 34 companies responded that they were “considering” doing so, bringing the total to 46, or about 44%.

READ: Japan’s job mobility falls below OECD average

Of the 46 companies, 10 said they had reduced or were considering reducing the number of employees subject to transfer, and another 10 cited a deferment system that allows employees to refuse transfers for a certain period.

In addition, many companies are offering the option to work even more remotely. For example, even if a job is based in the greater Tokyo area, employees can live in west Japan’s Kansai region, hundreds of kilometres away. 20 companies have already introduced this system or are considering it.