Japan Post Co. has begun accepting nengajо̄ (traditional New Year's greeting cards) for delivery on New Year's Day with the hope that those who cannot return to their hometowns due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections will instead send greeting cards.

The initial issuance of the postage-paid cards issued for 2021 hit a record low of about 1.94 billion, down 17% from the previous year, falling for the 10th consecutive year and slipping below 2 billion for the first time, according to Japan Post.

The figure marked a record high of 4.45 billion for 2004. The number has dropped in recent years due to the use of email and social media. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the trend, with the number of companies using such cards for advertising purposes plunging as part of cost-cutting efforts to respond to declining earnings amid the pandemic.