Yuka Fujimura first thought about quitting her job in the spring of 2020, when COVID-19 case counts soared and Tokyo declared its first state of emergency.

The day care center that Fujimura’s 2-year-old daughter attended had closed for the duration of the emergency decree. That meant the 35-year-old mom was tasked with looking after her child at home while running a one-person public relations team for an AI-powered voice communication startup.

“My daughter wasn’t happy at all. She became frustrated and cried a lot, begging me to take her to the park. But I had so much work to handle and no one to cover for me at my company,” Fujimura says.