Abe asks companies to reduce workers going to offices by 70%

Japan authorities have asked all businesses in seven prefectures where a state of emergency has been declared, including Tokyo, to take measures to reduce the number of people working in offices by at least 70 percent.

Few people are seen in Akihabara, Tokyo on April 12, 2020. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed relevant ministries and agencies to ask all businesses in seven prefectures where a state of emergency has been declared, including Tokyo, to take measures to reduce the number of people working in offices by at least 70 percent.

Abe issued the instruction at a meeting of the new coronavirus infection task force at the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

“In order to put an end to the state of emergency in a month, contact reductions of at least 70 percent, and as much as possible [reaching] 80 percent, must be achieved,” Abe said at the meeting.

The prime minister stressed that office work should, in principle, be done at home. “Even if it is absolutely necessary to go to work, the number of workers should be reduced by at least 70 percent,” Abe added.

Abe also announced plans to distribute a total of 45 million surgical masks to medical institutions nationwide as early as this week. An additional 10 million masks will be distributed to medical institutions in the seven prefectures.

Regarding Abe’s request on reducing office workers by 70 percent, Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of economic revitalization, told reporters, “The number of railway passengers and the number of people traveling have not been reduced by 80%.” He added, “I would like to make a request to the business community.”​