The number of commuters on Tokyo’s notoriously crowded transport system has dropped significantly, but people like Yumi, an employee at a Tokyo insurance company, said telework simply isn’t possible for her and her colleagues.
“At my company, everyone comes in… our customers fill in paper applications for insurance so it’s difficult for us to do business at home,” she said, declining to give her family name.
She tries to be careful taking the train, looking for carriages that seem emptier than others.
Some workers have it better, like 30-year-old Yuki, a travel agent at a Tokyo firm that uses mostly online documents, as well as digital hanko.
“I just click once and we get digital seal on a document. It’s easy,” she said.
But even she says she goes to the office several days a week because some data can’t be accessed remotely.
“Going to the office by a train worries me most. I’m also worried about being infected in the office,” she said.
“I really want to avoid contact with people.”
Yuki worries that people continuing to work in offices will spread infection.
“That’s why maybe Japan should have imposed a ban on going out as seen overseas,” she said.
“Japanese are hard workers, so unless we’re forced to not go to work, it’s going to be difficult to avoid 80 percent of contact.”