METI Requested Related Associations to Promote Teleworking of Workers and Other Actions as Responses to Government’s Declaration of State of Emergency Involving Novel Coronavirus Disease
April 13, 2020
Mr. Kajiyama Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, requested the heads of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other SME associations to promote teleworking of workers and other actions from the standpoint of preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) requested 948 industrial associations over which METI has jurisdiction to take the same efforts as mentioned above and also, in particular, to take care in sending workers to their business partners’ and other offices.
The government has been requesting that people reduce contact with others by at least 70% and by 80% if possible as numerical goals necessary for Japan to end the current state of emergency involving the novel coronavirus disease within one month. Against this backdrop, Minister Kajiyama requested the heads of three associations - the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry and the National Federation of Small Business Associations – to further advance promoting teleworking of workers and other actions (Appendix 1). In addition, he also explained to the heads that the government will provide measures for supporting companies in introducing teleworking, organizing actions for avoiding the conditions of closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact setting (3Cs), and taking other efforts, while handing them a brochure containing a collection of case examples of companies’ efforts (Appendix 2).
Moreover, METI raised awareness of the same efforts mentioned above to 948 industrial associations over which METI has jurisdiction and also, in particular, requested them to take care in sending workers to their business partners’ and other offices.
2. Details of the request
Companies should [i] encourage office workers to shift to teleworking at their homes in principle and [ii] reduce the number of workers showing up at offices by at least 70% even if such workers need to go to the offices for unavoidable reasons, except those who need to continue working to maintain social functions.*
*Note: Details of “those who need to continue working to maintain social functions”
The government decided on the Basic Policies for the Areas Subject to the Declaration of State of Emergency as well. The appendix to the policies explains companies that are requested to continue their business even when the Declaration of State of Emergency is issued.
3. Support measures provided for SMEs
The government decided to include the following measures in the Emergency Economic Measures for Response to COVID-19, which was formulated on April 7, 2020, and to advance improvement of subsidy programs for teleworking and enhancement of the current counseling system. In particular, the government will raise the current rates of the subsidies for introduction of IT, which is a program conducted as part of the Project for Encouraging SMEs to Advance the Productivity Revolution, from one-half to two-thirds, and based on this, it will provide SMEs with subsidies of up to 4.5 million yen per company, including expenditures for leasing personal computers and other hardware, retroactively to April 7, 2020. This program will be conducted if the supplementary budget is established. Moreover, the government will embark on efforts for preventing the “3Cs” in the case where workers face difficulties in shifting to teleworking and measures of which companies are able to make use in closing businesses and facing a decrease in sales along with such close.
Titles of related measures involving the Emergency Economic Measures
- Creating a special framework under the Project for Encouraging SMEs to Advance the Productivity Revolution (METI);
- Enhancing the subsidy program for supporting companies in promoting working style reforms (teleworking course) (the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW));
- Enhancing the counseling system by telework managers (the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC));
- Tax systems for business investment by SMEs for teleworking and other working styles (METI, MIC, MHLW, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism);
- Project for supporting SMEs in digitalization (METI);
- Further expanding the coverage of the special treatments for the subsidies for employment adjustment (MHLW); and
- New subsidy program for SMEs, small enterprises and other entities (tentative title: “subsidy program for sustaining businesses”; METI)
In addition, aiming to reduce the number of commuting workers and opportunities where people make contact with others, METI compiled an easy-to-understand brochure explaining well-organized information on actions that SMEs and small enterprises are able to tackle immediately.
- Appendix 1: Promotion of teleworking of workers and other actions as responses to the government’s Declaration of State of Emergency involving the novel coronavirus disease (written request) (in Japanese) (PDF:159KB)
- Appendix 2e: Request to SMEs and small enterprises for reducing the number of commuting workers and opportunities where people make contact with others (in Japanese) (PDF:875KB)
Division in Charge
- Crisis Management and Disaster Response Office, Policy Planning and Coordination Division, Minister’s Secretariat
- IT Innovation Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau
- Technology and Innovation Division, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency