• Kyodo

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Nearly half of some 500 companies based in central Tokyo that were polled in a recent survey have yet to make plans to circumvent the traffic congestion expected during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Altogether, 44.3 percent of the 475 respondents to the survey conducted in March by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they have not come up with a strategy for the busy period at the time of the games, although they recognize the need to do so.

Some respondents to the survey, already facing labor shortages, said they are occupied with more pressing challenges such as the government’s planned consumption tax hike in October.

But 80.3 percent said they are open to changing their operations to lessen congestion in the capital, according to the survey, which reached out to 10,000 firms in central Tokyo.

The organizing committee of the Tokyo Games predicts congestion on expressways in the metropolitan area next summer will be twice as bad as a non-Olympic year if nothing is done to reduce it.

To encourage companies to reduce the movement of staff, the organizing committee is requesting that businesses encourage employees to work from home or implement staggered office hours. To avoid congestion linked to the movement of goods, it is asking companies to shift delivery times and routes.

In a multiple-choice question asking respondents about the progress of their preparations, 5.1 percent said they have started discussing the matter internally and 3.4 percent said they began discussing plans with clients, the survey showed.

Only 0.6 percent of the responding companies said they were in the process of compiling an action plan, according to the survey.

In regards to preparations for traffic jams, 49.9 percent said they expected difficulties in securing workers in off-peak hours, 41.5 percent said it is hard to get customers’ understanding and cooperation, and 29.7 percent said they expect to shoulder additional costs.

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