Japanese want to work from home more, to avoid ‘tsukin jigoku’ (commuter hell)

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  • Tuesday, 14 Jul 2020

‘Tsukin jigoku’ (commuter hell) is what the Japanese call the daily rush hour traffic on public transport. Photo: dpa

Crowded Tokyo train stations where rail staff push more and more commuters onto already packed trains have become a familiar, if somewhat cliched, image of life in Tokyo to many around the world.

Tsukin jigoku – commuter hell – is what the Japanese call the daily rush hour traffic on public transport in the world’s largest conurbation.

This is precisely why, according to a survey published in late June, many in Japan are now advocating for more work to be done from home, even after the coronavirus pandemic is finally over.

According to the survey of 2,000 men and women conducted by the Japanese news agency Jiji, 70% believed that even more remote work should be implemented as the pandemic continues.

Most (68.2%) said that remote work brought the significant advantage that they could avoid the “torture of commuting”.

Another is that it allows them to live and work in more remote areas where rent and land prices are lower. It also enables people who have to care for family members at home to earn money.

But an increased desire to remain working from home is not exclusive to Japan.

An April survey in the United States was met with a similar response from remote workers, with more than 75% of 25,000 adults surveyed by tech company IBM saying they would like to continue working from home at least occasionally.

One in five of the surveyed US commuters said they would even stop using public transport, with another 28% saying they would use less buses, trains or subways.

Canada’s Angus Reid Institute found similar opinions among the Canadian workforce, with two-thirds looking to work at least partially from home after the pandemic.Meanwhile as Japan emerges from a state of emergency during the coronavirus outbreak, the government wants to push ahead with digitisation to support more companies and employees in working remotely.

Despite its reputation as a high-tech country, Japan still lags far behind other countries in terms of digital infrastructure. – dpa

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