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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.

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