Business

Japanese firms prepare for large-scale volunteering during 2020 Games

JIJI

Major companies are encouraging employees to volunteer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, after the Tokyo Organising Committee started their search for 80,000 on Wednesday.

A number of firms plan to send volunteers from among their own workforce, although some industries are concerned about the possibility of temporary labor shortages during the games.

Fujitsu solicited volunteers from among its staff this spring, attracting about 2,000 applications. The computer-maker selected over 300 employees as members of its volunteer team. At the team’s July launch ceremony, President Tatsuya Tanaka said, “I hope you’ll pass on to the next generation your once-in-a-lifetime experience, which will be our company’s legacy.”

Brokerage giant Nomura Holdings Inc. has also picked 300 employees through an internal application process to volunteer for the 2020 Games.

Food-maker Meiji Co., a unit of Meiji Holdings Co., started a similar process last week, aiming to send 300 volunteers.

Among others, Toyota Motor Corp. and food-maker Ajinomoto Co. plan to send several hundred group workers and a hundred employees as volunteers, respectively.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. is considering using one of their Tokyo training facilities to provide accommodation for their workers from other parts of the country who volunteer for the Tokyo Games.

ANA Holdings Inc., the parent firm of All Nippon Airways, plans to allow employees to take paid leave to volunteer at the event. It is also considering counting days spent volunteering as on-duty days.

On the other hand, one major logistics company is struggling with how to support employees who wish to participate in the Olympics and Paralympics as volunteers. “We’d be pleased to see our employees gain precious experiences if possible,” an official said. There are concerns, however, that strict traffic controls during the event period may lead to delays in its delivery services. “In that case,” the official said, “we can’t afford volunteering.”

A major hotel in Tokyo is also worried during the busy Olympic and Paralympic period. “We can’t block volunteering, so we will try to gently persuade (our workers) by telling them that they can exercise hospitality while at work,” an official said.