Japan Wants to Adopt a 4 Day Work Week to Avoid Another Coronavirus Outbreak – Should Spain Do the Same?

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Credit: EFE

The main employers in Japan have recommend that businesses introduce a 4-day work week in order to reduce the chances of transmitting the coronavirus at the workplace, amongst measures.

THIS Thursday the Japanese Business Federation, known as Keidanren, complied a published document with guidelines such as the reduction of the work week, the commitment to telework, and the modification or rotation of schedules to avoid congestion on public transport, which could be a possible focus of infections.

Some guidelines clash with social conventions about working in Japan, such as asking people who feel sick to rest at home, something considered a rare occurrence before the pandemic or do only exchange business cards online. Workplace guidelines have been adopted in Spain, however, none have been as drastic as the suggestion of a four-day work week.

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Regarding work trips, the Japanese Business Federation recommends suspending all trips that are not essential and, if they must be carried out compulsorily, recording which people, places and routes the worker has been in contact with.

They also ask companies to consider ways in which they can hold meetings with shareholders without physically meeting, as well as interviews or seminars, since many Japanese companies usually hold these meetings in late June.

Other recommendations are already widely applied in the country: maintaining a safety distance of two metres between people, promoting frequent cleaning of hands, wearing masks or ventilating the office at least twice an hour.


This document was published the same day that the Japanese government announced the lifting of the state of health alarm for 39 of the 47 regions in the country, which will allow the revival of economic activity in most of the Japanese provinces.

Despite this, the main business regions, such as Tokyo and Osaka, are still under this state of emergency.


The partial lifting of the state of emergency is a great first step towards the normalisation of public lives and the resumption of economic activities, said the president of the Japanese Business Federation, Hiroaki Nakanishi, in statements collected by the local agency Kyodo.

But there is still a need to fully implement infection prevention measures, Nakanishi warned. The Hitachi company announced that its employees will return to the office one or two days a week, while the Toshiba corporation will seek to introduce the four-day work week for workers at its plants.

Another 80 labour entities have released guidelines on how to reduce the risk of infection in their respective sectors, according to the Japanese Minister of Economic Revitalisation, Yasutoshi Nishimura.




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