Five more updates on how businesses and workers are adapting to the not-so-new normal in the shadow of the no-longer-novel coronavirus:

  • How can restaurants make up for revenue lost in the evenings due to early closure requests? Some are trying to establish a new breakfast dining trend, a market that barely existed in Japan before the pandemic, unlike elsewhere in Asia. “It’s a luxury to have yakiniku for breakfast, and it reduces my stress levels,” one Tokyo commuter with a belly full of grilled meat tells Kyodo.
  • Japanese airlines, still struggling with weak passenger traffic, are seconding increasing numbers of their staff to other workplaces. JAL and ANA employees have been transferred to about 120 firms and organizations, from local governments to retailers, on placements lasting from a day to two years, with cabin attendants in particularly high demand.
Some restaurants have spotted a potential morning market for women and older residents. | KYODO
Some restaurants have spotted a potential morning market for women and older residents. | KYODO
  • Desperate to make up for the lack of overseas tourists, inns in one Hiroshima town are getting creative in their appeals to a broader clientele, tapping into demand for “workations” and day trips, the Chugoku Shimbun reports. “The staff were so hospitable that I ended up staying much longer than I expected,” says a Tokyo web consultant who stayed at an inn for a month for ¥50,000.
  • Compared with peak levels, sales at department stores in Japan have fallen by half. What to do? Online sales are an obvious start, while some have taken the digital push further by allowing shoppers to potter about digital shops as avatars, while others are having staff sell goods via Zoom from the safety of their homes.
  • Last summer, some analysts predicted that the congested Tokyo commute would become a thing of the past and that, in 2021, many employees would be working from home or other remote places. In hindsight, that might have been a little presumptuous, as packed trains back with a vengeance in the Tokyo area, writes Kaori Shoji. And some social media users are happy about that.