The sudden onset of the Covid-19 emergency has caused significant disruption across swathes of the Japanese economy and raised novel and urgent questions for employers as they seek to handle the challenges they face, whilst balancing the protection of their business and their obligations to their workers. This memorandum briefly addresses a number of key employment law issues and questions.
COVID-19 State of Emergency
On 7th April 2020 the Japanese government declared a state of emergency covering the greater Tokyo and Osaka areas, and a number of other urban areas, and which was extended nationwide on 16th April. The declaration authorizes the governors in the areas affected to request (not require) that residents stay home except for essential tasks, such as grocery shopping and seeking medical care; businesses can be requested that they “thoroughly implement infection control measures” but cannot be required to close. Tokyo’s governor has requested that its citizens isolate themselves until 6th May. The government has also strongly requested that employers should as far as possible reduce the number of employees coming to their place of work by 20 to 30%. There are no sanctions for failure to comply with the requests, and whilst they cannot currently be interpreted as orders there would be a strong expectation that companies will comply with them.
Given the rapidly changing situation surrounding Covid-19 and the possibility of additional measures to contain the outbreak and mitigate its effects, employers should ensure they have systems in place, such as arrangements with local counsel and other advisers, to monitor updates to relevant guidance, regulations, etc.
To read the full memorandum with Key Employment Law Issues and Q&A provided by Atsumi & Sakai, please click here.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Japan, please contact Tatsuo Yamashima (Partner) of Atsumi & Sakai at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aplaw.jp.
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