Many companies in Japan are being careful not to push employees to get COVID-19 vaccines, fearing that it would put those not wanting to be vaccinated at a disadvantage, while some firms are giving out stickers or tags to vaccinated employees.
Izakaya pub and restaurant chain Watami Co. plans to have its vaccinated employees wear a mark while working, while those who do not want to be inoculated will undergo polymerase chain reaction tests regularly.
Electronics retailer Nojima Corp. is giving stickers to its vaccinated employees, who can wear them on a voluntarily basis.
Nojima hopes to improve its earnings by creating an environment in which customers feel safer about visiting its stores despite the prolonged coronavirus crisis.
The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, has suggested that restaurants and event organizers offer benefits for people with vaccine certificates as an incentive to get vaccinated.
At a news conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that his government will consider a wider use of the certificates.
Many in the business world support Keidanren’s suggestions. An official with Japan Airlines voiced hopes that the use of the certificates will ensure people can make trips safely.
Overseas, moves to oblige employees to be vaccinated are spreading in response to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
While many companies in Japan support the wide use of vaccine certificates, they are hesitant to make their employees receive shots.
The revised immunization law only obliges citizens to make an effort to receive vaccines against major infectious diseases. The decision is up to each individual.
It is also legally required that special care be given so that unvaccinated people will not suffer workplace discrimination or any other forms of disadvantageous treatment.
It would be difficult for Japan to create a legal system that would allow companies to require that their workers be vaccinated.
Vaccinations are “recommended but not enforced” upon employees, an official at retail giant Aeon Co. said. Many other companies have taken a similar position.
Meanwhile, an official at a major housing manufacturer said, “We cannot take responsibility over the risk of vaccine side effects.”
“As the government does not make (the vaccinations) mandatory, we cannot enforce” a vaccine rule, a senior official at a major company said.
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