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Low-tech Japan Challenged while Working from Home during Pandemic

时间:2020-04-28 23:57来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

Japan's government declared an emergency to help limit the spread of the coronavirus earlier this month.

As part of the declaration1, the government asked the Japanese people to work from home. A short time after the announcement, many people hurried to electronics2 stores to buy computers or other things.

Many Japanese did not have the equipment they need to work from home. While the international image of Japan may include robots and high-tech3 devices5, in some ways the country has problems with technology.

But the bigger problem for the work-from-home idea is Japanese business culture, experts say. Most offices do not use email. Documents must often be signed in front of office managers with special seals called "hanko." Many homes lack high-speed internet connections.

A study by British market researcher YouGov found that only 18 percent of Japanese were able to easily work from home or take online classes. Most had to go into their office or school. Nearly 80 percent, however, were afraid of getting the coronavirus.

Japan has over 13,500 confirmed cases and nearly 400 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said. In Tokyo, nearly 4,000 cases have been confirmed. Tokyo Governor6 Yuriko Koike said Monday the number of new cases each day has started to decrease.

Working online from home, known as telework, would help.

Yuri Tazawa is a big supporter of teleworking. He says one of the biggest issues is that Japanese workers often do not have clearly defined7 jobs. They work in teams and are always in contact, talking to each other to decide the best way to undertake a project.

"But this is a matter of life and death for the workers and their families," said Tazawa. She is the president of Telework Management Inc.

Tazawa is offering an online class on how to start working from home. She teaches workers how to use just mobile8 phones, if they do not own a personal computer.

She says workers should use the video conferencing app Zoom9 for voice connections. With the Zoom app, two or more people can see each other and discuss anything. Tazawa tells workers to keep the program running all day so they can hear their co-workers and feel as if they are in the office.

"Teleworking is so important in the fight against the coronavirus," said Tazawa.

Japan's biggest companies, like Toyota Motor Corporation10 and Sony Corporation, have begun asking their employees to work from home. The biggest problem is the smaller businesses that make up about 70 percent of the economy.

Nicholas Benes is a business expert who has been offering a free online class on teleworking for Japanese workers. Benes says he is surprised by the lack of interest in the class.

"Telework requires that managers trust" employees to make decisions "because it takes too much time in email...to check with the boss, he said.

Japanese workers like to "smell the air," or "read the air" of their office, Benes said, using common Japanese expressions.

This means the commuter11 trains are still full, even as the number of infections is growing.

I'm Susan Shand.

Words in This Story

manager – n. one who is in charge of other people

seal – n. an official and legal signature or symbol of ownership12

mobile – adj. a personal phone that one carries

app – n. an application, especially as downloaded by a user13 to a mobile device4.

commuter – adj. something that carries people to work


1 declaration rxrxj     
  • We read the declaration posted on the bulletin board.我们读了贴在布告板上的声明。
  • At the recent convention a declaration was adopted.在最近举行的大会上通过了一项宣言。
2 electronics 5q0xB     
  • About 45000 people worked in electronics in Scotland.苏格兰约有4.5万人在电子行业工作。
  • He wants to brush up his knowledge of electronics.他想温习他的电子学知识。
3 high-tech high-tech     
  • The economy is in the upswing which makes high-tech services in more demand too.经济在蓬勃发展,这就使对高科技服务的需求量也在加大。
  • The quest of a cure for disease with high-tech has never ceased. 人们希望运用高科技治疗疾病的追求从未停止过。
4 device Bv8x6     
  • The device will be in production by the end of the year.该装置将于年底投入生产。
  • The device will save much time and effort for us.这种装置会使我们节省大量时间和气力。
5 devices e0212e54ec3a2a120ca0d321b3a60c78     
n.设备;装置( device的名词复数 );花招;(为实现某种目的的)计划;手段
  • electrical labour-saving devices around the home 节省劳力的各种家用电器
  • modern labour-saving devices such as washing machines and dishwashers 诸如洗衣机和洗碗机之类的现代化省力设备
6 governor 1f8xe     
  • The governor was an expert at fencing with reporters.这位州长是搪塞新闻记者的能手。
  • He was elected governor of the state of California.他当选为加州州长。
7 defined GuQzxW     
adj 定义的; 清晰的
  • These categories are not well defined. 这些类别划分得不太明确。
  • The powers of a judge are defined by law. 法官的权限是由法律规定的。
8 mobile l6dzu     
  • The old lady sits on a mobile chair every morning.那位老妇人每天上午坐在一把可携带使用的椅子上。
  • She's much more mobile now that she's bought a car.自从她买了汽车后,活动量就大多了。
9 zoom VenzWT     
  • The airplane's zoom carried it above the clouds.飞机的陡直上升使它飞到云层之上。
  • I live near an airport and the zoom of passing planes can be heard night and day.我住在一个飞机场附近,昼夜都能听到飞机飞过的嗡嗡声。
10 corporation Vozzl     
  • The company has gone into partnership with Swiss Bank Corporation. 这家公司已经和瑞士银行公司建立合作关系。
  • The inflation did the corporation up. 通货膨胀使这个公司破产了。
11 commuter ZXCyi     
  • Police cordoned off the road and diverted commuter traffic. 警察封锁了道路并分流交通。
  • She accidentally stepped on his foot on a crowded commuter train. 她在拥挤的通勤列车上不小心踩到了他的脚。
12 ownership BKQxj     
  • The house is under new ownership.那栋房子已易新主。
  • He claimed ownership of the house.他声称那幢房子归他所有。
13 user vjVwX     
  • The company is the biggest user of oil.该公司是最大的石油用户。
  • The umbrella keeps the rains off the user.雨伞使撑伞人免受雨淋。
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