TOKYO: Many companies in Japan are careful not to push employees to get COVID-19 vaccines, as such moves would put those not wanting to be vaccinated at a disadvantage.
Meanwhile, some companies have started to have vaccinated employees wear marks.
Regarding proposed vaccine certificates, many support the idea, hoping to revitalize economic activities through the measure.
“Izakaya” pub and restaurant chain Watami Co. plans to have its employees wear a mark in its establishments if they are vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Those who do not want to be inoculated will undergo polymerase chain reaction tests regularly.
Electronics retailer Nojima Corp. gives a sticker to its vaccinated employees so that they wear it voluntarily, particularly clerks who assist customers at outlets.
Nojima hopes to improve its earnings by creating an environment in which customers feel safer about visiting its stores despite the prolonged coronavirus crisis.
The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, has suggested that eating and drinking establishments offer benefits and event organizers give priority admissions to people with their vaccine certificates as an incentive to get vaccinated.
At a press conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that his government will consider a wide use of such certificates.
Many in the business world support Keidanren’s suggestions. An official at Japan Airlines voiced hopes that the use of the certificates will contribute to safe and secure trips and smooth travels.
In the United States and other places, moves to oblige employees to be vaccinated are spreading in response to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
While many companies in Japan support the wide use of vaccine certificates, they are hesitant to make their employees receive vaccine shots.
The revised immunization law only obliges citizens to make an effort to receive vaccines against major infectious diseases. The decision is up to each individual.
It is also legally required that special care be given so that unvaccinated people will not suffer workplace discrimination or any other forms of disadvantageous treatment.
It would be difficult for Japan to create a legal system that would allow companies to require that their workers be vaccinated.
Vaccinations are “recommended but not enforced” upon employees, an official at retail giant Aeon Co. said. Many other companies take a similar position.
Meanwhile, an official at a major housing manufacturer said, “We cannot take responsibility over the risk of vaccine side effects.”
“As the government does not make (the vaccinations) mandatory, we cannot enforce them,” a senior official at a major company said.