As the news media has reported, the Japanese government has declared a “state of emergency” today (April 7, 2020) for 7 designated prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka and their neighboring prefectures in view of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the “state of emergency”, the government strongly requests that people stay at home unless for essential tasks such as shopping for food, medical care, or work. The request is not accompanied with enforcement procedures such as fines against violators. In addition to the government’s declaration, the city of Tokyo has requested that companies shift to teleworking and that people are to stay away from overcrowded and poorly ventilated spaces where people speak or sing. We expect that people will take these requests seriously and refrain from going out unless it is really necessary.
Although going out to work is exempted from the government’s requests, our firm started shifting towards teleworking at the beginning of March to reduce the exposure of our people to risky environments and has been trying to solve the inconveniences people encounter in teleworking. As a result of this process, we have decided to shift to teleworking completely (except for rare situations where working in the office is necessary such as the filing of paper documents in court) and maintain the firm’s functions as usual on that basis. There will be only a few people in our offices from this week. However, please be assured that our members are reachable by email as before and our firm is fully functioning despite the “state of emergency.”