Japanese firms stepping up remote work

Japanese firms are planning to further promote working from home as the government is expected to declare a state of emergency to curb coronavirus infections.

The second state of emergency since the start of the pandemic is likely to be issued later this week for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. Record numbers of new cases have been reported in those areas.

Mitsubishi Electric has increased the number of employees working from home since the coronavirus began to spread across Japan.

The company has had personnel mainly from the general affairs, marketing, and human resource divisions work from home in a bid to reduce the number of people at its offices.

It plans to step up its effort to limit the number of employees working at its offices in Tokyo and the three prefectures to 30 percent of the entire workforce or less.

The firm also plans to ban business trips to and from Tokyo and those prefectures as well as all gatherings involving eating and drinking.

The company says it will keep operating its factories, where staff will work shifts or staggered hours.

Telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, or NTT, is also considering whether to implement additional measures.

Half or more of its personnel at general affairs, planning and other sections are already working from home. The NTT group employs about 180,000 people.

Another telecom giant, KDDI, reduced the number of seats at its head office in central Tokyo this month by 40 percent. The company says it will continue to encourage its employees to work from home.