• Kyodo, Jiji

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Only about 30 percent of Japanese companies operating in the United States plan to have all their employees return to the office by the end of the year, a survey showed Tuesday, even as state governments move to ease coronavirus-triggered lockdowns.

According to the survey, which was conducted from May 27 through Monday by the Japan External Trade Organization, nonmanufacturing companies tend to adopt teleworking more broadly than those in the manufacturing sector.

The result suggests that Japanese companies in the United States are reviewing their working environments, with telework appearing to take root amid the monthslong upheaval in arrangements amid the pandemic.

Among the 834 companies responding to the survey, 15 percent of nonmanufacturing companies said they plan to have their employees work from home, as compared to 7 percent of manufacturers.

At the same time, the survey by the organization under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also indicated that many companies do not allow workers to choose for themselves whether to work in the office or from home.

Only 20 percent of nonmanufacturing firms and 14 percent of manufacturers leave the decision up to their employees.

The United States has confirmed over 1.8 million coronavirus infections and over 100,000 deaths, with each figure the highest of any country in the world.

Reflecting the severity of the pandemic, U.S. countermeasures against the coronavirus such as wide-scale social distancing, the shutting down of businesses and schools, and restrictions on gatherings have generally been more strict than similar steps taken in Japan. Yet all 50 U.S. states have moved to begin easing restrictions and clear the way for the reopening of businesses.

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