Covid-19 has thrown the global economy into disarray. People have been forced to stay home, and businesses to stay closed, with little idea of when normal activity will resume. The government of Japan, in order to mitigate the virus’ impact on the economy, has proposed multiple measures to help workers and small and medium enterprises.
The arrival of the Covid-19 coronavirus on Japanese shores is having dramatic effect on people’s lives, as it is in most of the world. Here they tell their stories in their own words.
Libby Sander, assistant professor of Bond University in Queensland, Australia, advocates a four day work week for Japan. Her expertise on the future of work helps expose the pitfalls of long and often unproductive working hours in this country.
Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the Abe government has been engaged for several years in one of the most aggressive and unconstitutional efforts to smash a small industrial labor union in Japan’s Kansai region, including mass arrests of union members.
In 2019, Japan’s involvement in the Russian energy sector increased significantly, most notably with the purchase by a Japanese consortium of a 10% stake in Russia’s Arctic LNG-2 project. The Abe administration evidently hopes that these new investments will bring benefits, both in terms of energy economics, and as a means of furthering Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition to settle Japan’s territorial dispute with Russia. In both respects, the Japanese leadership risks disappointment.
Auto designer David Cohen explains how he was unexpectedly laid off by Subaru after ten years, apparently because the firm wanted to escape new legal employment protections that he was soon to receive.
Eclipsed for many decades by its much larger Tokyo rival, Osaka is reclaiming its former status as Japan’s second metropolis. The recent G20 Summit held in Osaka which briefly put the city’s name on the lips of a global audience was indicative of its rising prominence, and is not likely to be the last time in the coming years that it will become the focus of the world’s attention.
The Third Way Forum was launched in 2018 with the participation of fifty people. They are dedicated to shaping a new corporate culture for Japan which will be inclusive of international employees.
The Indonesian coal mining conglomerate Adaro Energy, which is allied with the Japanese companies J-Power, Itochu, as well as a number of public and private Japanese banks, has been avoiding local taxes for more than a decade, depriving the Indonesian government of about US$125 million in income from 2009 to 2017, and has even been accused of provoking human rights abuses in the country.
The World Health Organization estimates that there will be a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030. This equates to a 20% gap in the global capacity to provide healthcare services. Japan, which is already grappling with an aging society and its attendant problems, is at the forefront of this crisis.