TOKYO: Japanese companies are ramping up their responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic following recent increases in new infection cases nationwide.
Daiwa House Industry Co. has banned its employees from traveling between Tokyo and other prefectures, while employees of GMO Internet Inc. and Japan Display Inc. are being asked to work from home in principle again.
Major trader Itochu Corp. plans to reduce the proportion of employees working at offices to 50 percent.
Beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. has been calling on employees to refrain from holding drinking parties aimed at deepening friendship in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Recently, the western prefecture of Osaka was added to the list of prefectures subject to such restrictions.
Meanwhile, some companies are perplexed by the government’s decision to exclude trips to and from Tokyo from its upcoming Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign, which will cover part of travel costs through discounts and vouchers.
“The effects of the campaign will decrease as Tokyo will be excluded,” said an official of Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., a railway and tourism business group.
The initiative had been expected to boost the Japanese travel market by up to 1.37 trillion yen, but the exclusion of Tokyo will likely reduce the impact by 100 billion to 200 billion yen, Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist of Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc., said.
“Consumer sentiment will worsen, and negative effects may hit business trips to Tokyo, and dining and drinking parties,” he warned.