As Japan continues to face the growing threat of COVID-19 within its borders, many companies have mandated or encouraged employees to begin telecommuting or off-peak commuting. As reported by the Japan Times, since February 17th, the NTT group has implemented such measures for 200,000 of its employees and the GMO Internet Group asked 90% of its employees to work from home as early as January 27th.

However, it would seem that such measures are still slow to catch on.

LINE Research, a smartphone-specific research platform operated by LINE Corp. and based on the nation's largest active research panel of about 5.06 million people, has been conducting regular surveys concerning the novel coronavirus situation in Japan. Following their first survey on February 5th, they have now released the results of their second survey on February 19th, in which they added a question about specific measures and recommendations taken by survey-takers' companies to fight the virus.

The results are as follows:

Your company's measures and recommendations

  • 26%: Permanent availability of disinfectant alcohol for hands and fingers
  • 23%: Mandatory or recommended wearing of masks
  • 22%: Information sent to me on infection prevention precautions
  • 16%: Distribution of masks
  • 14%: Cancelation of events and assemblies
  • 11%: Restrictions on business trips / travel to specific areas
  • 11%: Regular disinfection within office or school where I work
  • 5%: Restrictions on business trips from / travel from a specific area
  • 5%: Permanent availability of medicated soap
  • 5%: Recommendation of staggered working hours
  • 5%: Permission for or recommendation of telework (work from home)
  • 4%: Permanent availability of (medicated) mouthwash
  • 3%: Mandatory or recommended temperature taking before going to work
  • 3%: Permission for or recommendation of taking days off
  • 2%: Recommendation of shortened working hours

survey conducted by LINE Research on February 19th | n=2158

As you can see, only 5% of the 2,158 respondents replied that their company recommended staggered working hours to enable off-peak commuting or telework to protect their employees from infection.

However, in what could arguably be considered a positive indication, about a quarter of all respondents replied that their company had disinfectant alcohol permanently available at the office and mandated or recommended them to wear masks.

The latest survey also highlighted a growing concern for both individuals and health care providers in Japan: a shortage of masks and disinfectant. In response to the question: "What problems have you been facing in the last two weeks?" 49% of 5,024 people surveyed responded that they couldn't obtain masks, a 6% increase from the February 5th survey (of 5,233 people), and 20% of people surveyed responded that they couldn't obtain disinfectant, an 8% increase.

According to The Mainichi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced at a press conference on February 12th that 100 million face masks would be produced in one week, which he expected would ease the supply crunch for masks as early as the following week. This survey would seem to indicate that this has yet to materialize. Hopefully, the wait will not continue for much longer...

For the complete survey results, please visit LINE Research here.

By - Ben K.