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Firms in Japan to keep social-istancing measures in place

  • May 26, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 9:16 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, May 26 (Jiji Press)–Even after Monday’s full lifting of a coronavirus state of emergency in Japan, companies plan to keep work-from-home and other social-distancing measures in place amid fears about possible second and third waves of infection.

“Although the state of emergency was lifted for the entire country, including Tokyo, we’ll not end work-from-home practices all at once,” said Jun Sawada, president and chief executive officer at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. <9432>.

Hitachi Ltd. <6501> will make work-from-home a norm starting in April next year. It aims to keep some 50 pct of its 33,000 employees in Japan at home on average.

Fujitsu Ltd. <6702> will reduce the number of workers at the workplace by 75 pct for the time being, making work-from-home permanent. “We won’t return to the work style before” the pandemic, Fujitsu President Takahito Tokita said.

Companies that will end work-from-home in stages plan to take thorough measures to prevent infections.

Sharp Corp. <6753> is asking its employees to check their temperature, use disinfectants, wear face masks and avoid closed spaces, crowds and close contact, calling for meetings to be held online as much as possible.

Alternative steps have started being taken at workplaces where work-from-home is difficult.

Toshiba Corp. <6502> plans to adopt a four-day workweek at its plants as early as June. While making no changes to monthly work hours by lengthening daily working time, the company aims to curb the daily number of employees at its plants.

The move by Toshiba comes as the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, the largest employers’ group in the country, has called on member companies to consider a four-day workweek.

Toyota Motor Corp. <7203> delayed the start of night shifts at its plants by 30 minutes so that workers will have less opportunity to encounter colleagues on a different shift.

Honda Motor Co. <7267> is operating plants by taking measures such as avoiding closed spaces, crowds and close contact, as well as securing distances between workers.

Restaurant operators introduced measures to prevent infection among customers.

Saizeriya Co. <7581> almost halved the number of seats at its restaurants. While resuming in-store dining at its outlets nationwide in stages, McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) <2702> offers only takeout services at late-night hours.

“Companies should change their business models instead of just waiting for a recovery in demand,” Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi told a press conference on Monday, urging businesses to promote reform.

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