10,000 workers in Japan offered early retirement

Dozens of companies in Japan are asking more than 10,000 employees to take early or voluntary retirement as they struggle with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure is an increase of more than 4,100 workers compared to a year before. It surpassed the 10,000-mark three months earlier than last year.

A survey conducted by Tokyo Shoko Research shows that, as of Thursday, at least 50 listed companies had offered early or voluntary retirement packages. That's up 17 from a year earlier.

Firms in the apparel and textile goods sector topped the list at eight, followed by those in the electronics industry at seven.

Four firms in tourism-related services, and an equal number in the transportation sector, including airline and railway companies, and restaurant operators have also extended the request to their employees.

About 70 percent, or 34 of the firms that are trying to downsize their workforces, posted losses in their earnings reports for the last fiscal year.

The research firm has predicted that more than 100 listed companies may eventually take similar approaches this year as their economic activities have been hurt by the pandemic.