Japan’s most powerful business lobby on Thursday called on member companies to introduce a four-day workweek and seek flexible ways to hold upcoming shareholders meetings as part of guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, compiled the guidelines as the government the same day decided to lift a state of emergency for 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures, a move that will restart economic activity. Major business regions such as Tokyo and Osaka, however, will remain under the state of emergency.
The federation recommended the introduction of a four-day workweek and the promotion of teleworking as well as flexible business hours and working shifts as ways to ease congestion on public transportation.
The business lobby also urged companies to consider ways to hold shareholders meetings without them gathering, such as by allowing them to exercise voting rights beforehand. Many Japanese companies hold shareholders meetings in late June.
Companies were also advised to suspend nonessential business trips and conduct meetings and interviews or seminars with job-seekers online.
“While companies are required to promote steps to prevent the spread of infections, they are also expected to strengthen efforts to contribute to public life through business operations” the federation said in a release.
Major companies, including Nissan Motor Co. and Toshiba Corp., have suspended or scaled back operations, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in early April declared a one-month state of emergency until May 6 for seven urban areas hit hard by the virus.
The prime minister expanded the state of emergency to the whole country on April 16 and extended it to May 31. But Abe said on Thursday Japan will lift the state of emergency in 39 prefectures where the spread of the novel coronavirus had been kept in check.
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