Japanese tech companies Canon, Hitachi and Olympus announced Tuesday their decision to adopt or extend teleworking among their employees in Tokyo and nearby areas in the face of the impending declaration of health alert status by COVID-19.
Canon will close its headquarters in Tokyo and four other research and development offices in Kanagawa prefecture until April 17, two of the seven Japanese provinces that will be affected by the state of emergency that the Government is expected to declare in the next few years. hours.
Some 6,000 employees regularly work at Canon headquarters. A small and unspecified number will work telematically during the period to maintain basic corporate operations, according to details collected by the Jiji news agency.
Hitachi announced, for its part, that it will implement teleworking for some 50,000 of its workers in Tokyo and will allow the same for employees from other areas if requested by local authorities.
The Olympus group reported that it will extend the distance working period for some 8,000 Tokyo employees until May 1, and that it plans to expand the measure to include workers on the island of Hokkaido and the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Saitama , Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Nara and Fukuoka, other areas affected by the virus.
Japan is preparing to declare a state of sanitary emergency to contain the national coronavirus epidemic, whose cases have doubled in the archipelago in the last week, especially in Tokyo, where they are concentrated around a quarter.
The declaration, which will be in force at least until the first week of May, does not allow imposing a mandatory confinement of the population (it would be unconstitutional and Japanese law does not have punitive measures such as fines or detention if not complied with) or compel the cessation of activities of private companies.
The authorities could indeed air the name of the company in question or its managers, publicly embarrassing them with the aim of forcing them to obey their requests.
The Tokyo government has been urging companies to promote teleworking for weeks, a request that is expected to intensify with the entry into force of the state of emergency.