Only 37% of firms meet Japan government’s push to telecommute

The survey by business lobby Keidanren also found that the number of people commuting to work was reduced by 65%, or around 870,000.
By: | February 2, 2021

So far, only 37% of businesses in the prefectures under Japan’s current state of emergency are telecommuting, meeting the government’s target of reducing commuting workers by 70%, a business lobby survey shows.

The number of people commuting decreased by 40% in the Tokyo metropolitan area based on the number of train passengers, and 30% in prefectures in western Japan, said Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the government’s coronavirus response at a remote meeting with leaders of the country’s largest business lobby, Keidanren. 

Nishimura emphasised that businesses should meet the government’s target and allow their staff to telework so that the state of emergency, which ends on February 7, will not have to be extended. 

The survey, which gathered responses from some 500 companies in the 11 prefectures, also found that the number of people commuting to work was reduced by 65% or around 870,000. The figure excludes essential workers.

READ: Teleworking rate in Japan remains low despite government urge

While many large businesses have been able to cut the number of commuters, it is proving more of a challenge for smaller firms, said Nobuyuki Koga, who chairs the board of councillors of Keidanren.

Government officials are preparing for a possible extension of the state of emergency declaration for Tokyo and Osaka beyond February 7, which has seen the ratio of elderly people among newly infected people rise.