- 20 Jan 2015
Face masks are a common sight on the streets of Tokyo these days. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)
By Simon Denyer April 6, 2020 at 7:22 a.m. EDT
TOKYO — When it comes to working from home, Japan simply doesn't get it.
In the midst of a coronavirus epidemic, with a state of emergency about to be imposed, commuter trains in Tokyo are still pretty packed, and many companies are acting like nothing has really changed.
This is a nation where you still have to show up in person.
Japan's work culture demands constant face-to-face interaction, partly to show respect. Employees typically are judged on the hours they put in, rather than their output. Managers don't trust their staff to work from home, and many companies are just not set up for telework.
"My boss said it loud and clear: 'If I allow you guys to go home, you might not be focusing on your work. Who knows? You might even be drinking,' " said one investment banker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
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