Hospitals have been scrambling to secure enough doctors during the unprecedented Golden Week holiday period that began Saturday, which was extended to 10 days to accommodate the Imperial succession.

By hiring doctors to work temporarily, many medical institutions have sought to give their regular physicians days off as the medical sector, along with other industries, aims to change the notorious culture of long work hours. However, some hospitals in rural areas have given up plans for temporary recruitment and are asking their own doctors to work longer instead.

M. Stage Co., a medical personnel resource service company based in Tokyo, said that as of April 22 it had received 4,538 requests to dispatch doctors between April 27 and May 6, about 800 more than what it received during last year's Golden Week period.