As the state of emergency was extended on Monday, Japanese businesses are afraid. (Image via Time Out)

State of emergency extended, Japanese businesses grow worried

As Japan decided to extend the period of the state of emergency to suppress the infection rate of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), major Japanese retailers and manufacturers grow worried. The state of emergency, extended from 7 prefectures nationwide on 16 April, demand the Japanese residents to refrain from going out and any nonessential businesses to temporarily close.

Among those businesses are department stores and restaurants that will remain either closed or running their branches for shortened business hours.

For example, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd struggles to keep its six department stores in Tokyo, the prefecture affected by the state of emergency, closed by the extended state of emergency. Isetan needs to wait until the Japanese government lifts up the declaration. Furthermore, Isetan stated that it planned to continue running the food halls at stores outside the metropolitan area. Any future of each store will depend on the requests from the prefectural governments.

Restaurant chain operator, Skylark Holdings Co., stated that it remains open with shorter business hours until 19 May. On 20 May, Skylark will decide further on the business hours.

Due to the state of emergency, businesses are forced to shift their employees from office to teleworking. They also have to resume production as soon as possible, although the demand is dropping. For example, one of the biggest automakers in Japan, Toyota Motor Corp.

One of the major Japanese tech manufacturers, Toshiba Corp., confirmed that it would continue its production on Thursday. Toshiba decided to close all of its offices across Japan until Wednesday. On the other hand, a Japanese camera manufacturer, Canon Inc., decided to stop camera lens production for a while until 29 May due to the weak demand.

Japanese economic experts stated that the state of emergency is going to cut Japan’s gross national product (GDP) by ¥23 trillion. The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) asked the Japanese government to declare economic measures to alleviate the COVID-19’s impact on Japan’s economy.