A station passageway is crowded with commuters during rush hour at Shinagawa Station Monday morning. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
national

Commuter rush seen despite 3rd coronavirus state of emergency

64 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

64 Comments
Login to comment

How many times does this need to be said? It has to come from the top down. Not the other way around? I’d be happy to telework but the prefectural government and corporations are forcing workers to go in.

Stop trying to pin this on individuals.

51 ( +53 / -2 )

Mena Ganman !

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

What is this article???

Since the beginning of the pandemic the situation is like that. Trains are packed with commuters.

Everybody who lives in Japan knows that Japanese Companies dont like their employees to work from home and additional, everybody knows that there are many jobs where you can not work from home.

Everybody knows that!

So this article contains no news!

35 ( +38 / -3 )

Company employee Keisuke Munakata, a 55-year-old resident of Tokyo, said he commutes in every day because he has many meetings to attend.

"It cannot be helped that the state of emergency was declared given the situation that coronavirus variants are spreading. We just need to pray that the cases will decrease," he said.

Godzilla attacks Tokyo. Keisuke Munakata goes into work.

Tokyo swallowed by largest sinkhole in the world. Keisuke Munakata goes into work.

I don't blame him. Bills have to be paid. The only option is vaccines. In fact they should start vaccinating people like Keisuke Munakata on the morning train.

26 ( +31 / -5 )

Company employee Keisuke Munakata, a 55-year-old resident of Tokyo, said he commutes in every day because he has many meetings to attend.

Yep..just the thing to do during the pandemic...because meetings have to be attended in person. J-Inc just has no inclination to change.

"It cannot be helped that the state of emergency was declared given the situation that coronavirus variants are spreading. We just need to pray that the cases will decrease," he said.

Yep...the cases will surely decrease if salarymen just pray.

29 ( +33 / -4 )

Its the an easy low effort article to pasta at this time. While large crowds are on trains an in stations across Japan, 99.9% of commuters do not look up from their phone, do not talk to another person, they barely have a pulse. Its the psudo-zombie state of being of the workers commute. But for people looking from the outside, the confusion of what 'state of emergency' even means when such crowds are shown is peculieur indeed.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

If the gov can do that to restaurants and shopping malls, why not companies? Just tell each company to have 30-40% of staff to work remotely. Packed trains, commuter rush, this is not even news now.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Notice how everyone is largely carrying on as normal but the virus is already going away in Osaka? Probably everywhere else soon too.

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

Is anyone really surprised?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Could someone just finally please tell all the Keisuke Munakatas in this country - and especially their bosses-, that things like ‘online meetings’ and ‘shared drives’ exist?

23 ( +23 / -0 )

Me: I'm going to telework next week.

Boss: No.

38 ( +38 / -0 )

Yep..just the thing to do during the pandemic...because meetings have to be attended in person. J-Inc just has no inclination to change.

Yeah but creating the infrastructure to do everything online is costly and time consuming. You just can expect the vast majority of companies to do it within a year.

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

Keeping working. Just don't have a holiday.

Two Golden Weeks cancelled, New Years holiday cancelled.

Oh, Go-to-Travel in between. Spend hours in a desperate traffic jam.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

It is shameful that companies like Munakata-san's are allowed to carry on as normal, with no effort whatsoever to help with the collective effort, while the restaurant industry is being decimated.

They have had a full year to work out how to hold online meetings, and I know people in their 80s who are managing to do this just fine. This really ought to be a collective effort and I have every sympathy with bar & izakaya owners who don't feel as though we're all in this together. Our local izakaya's activities are just as much "work" as Munakata-san's "meetings" are and it is completely unreasonable to force one form of business to stop while allowing another to carry on without even trying to help.

Do a proper lockdown or don't bother.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

 We just need to pray that the cases will decrease," he said.

Yeah, most of them dont even know what or who they are praying to.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Eyeblack

That seems to be the message. Just keep working, don't stop for any reason. Don't have a holiday, don't see your friends or family, don't go to any restaurants, don't leave your apartment unless you are commuting to work. Just keep working.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

My company has told us in no uncertain terms that unless we have a documented reason to come into the office, we are to stay home.

Seems I am in the minority here.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

@nakanoguy01

Everything online, maybe not. Depending on the work that may be hard to do.

Way more people can be working online than are though. I am working in IT and still required to come in to the office for...some reason. There is a lot of people who could do their work at home with e-mail and Zoom.

Yes some work might require setting up a VPN or other infrastructure, but there is a lot of people who don't need anything like that. In the vast majority of situations, it is absolutely a case of Japanese companies not wanting to do it, rather than being unable to do it.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

No one takes the SOE, Virus warnings, etc seriously. In a country that has not been hit as hard as others, it is difficult to convince people to follow REQUESTS. A request is just that..A REQUEST. Daily as I am out and about I see no change in anyones behavior, including my own. COVID-19 is just something that we have to learn to live with.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Socialising and other activities that bring joy are, along with public health, a luxury that needs to be sacrificed to keep the stock market afloat.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

We want to thoroughly take necessary measures, including strengthening border controls and monitoring steps," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters. The variant, discovered in India.

Japan LOVES to blame others..instead of taking responsibility for their own actions or should I say "Lack there of action".

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Shibuya wasn't so bad today ! If the biggest source of infections is indeed the youth this SoE configuration might do the job.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We just need to pray that the cases will decrease," 

and there is the crux of Japanese anti virus policy.

And to stop the Indian variant

we want to thoroughly take necessary measures, including strengthening border controls and monitoring steps," 

So Let’s invite many thousands of people from all countries around the world including India to come to Japan and EXEMPT them from any quarantine

10 ( +11 / -1 )

What an insulting headline!

We are going to work. Afraid for our livelihoods and families. We are going to work because we aren’t living for free.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

My wife's company was looking at downsizing the office to bare necessities and having most work from home before covid so they just pushed up the schedule.

But most of her friends are still working from their company offices because it seems the upper management have no idea how and no will to do it.

"It is impossible for me to not come to office because I work as a receptionist at a company,"

Well that is only because the company doesn't do it.

Again my wife's company no longer has a reception but the woman that was there now works from home with a simple VoIP system that transfers calls to her switchboard equipped computer.

One thing that did happen was a lot of old guys lost their jobs because they just couldn't or wouldn't learn how to use modern equipment and software, like zoom, Excel, Calendar, etc.. for years they could get away with just passing stuff off to younger staff or more often one of the secretaries, but telework made this impossible and the reality they actually couldn't do their jobs became clear.

Oh they were given time even offered training but most refused saying silly stuff like "we always did it this or that way, why should we change".

It is clearly a top down problem, most younger workers can easily handle working from home, but I doubt most company management or even fewer company CEO/presidents could or would even know how.

So they just continue as before.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

the shinkansen wasnt really busy, but then again I always go really early at 6am. though not really that much quieter than normal...

oh well, all good.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Going to the office and simply be present for a great majority of Japanese is 50% of their job. No wonder this will never change.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Notice how everyone is largely carrying on as normal but the virus is already going away in Osaka? Probably everywhere else soon too.

No. I notice Osaka wanted a state of emergency declared. I noticed India largely tried going back to normal while the virus was still in the community and now it is magnitudes worse with full hospitals, lack of oxygen and people dying on the streets. Is that you mean? The new normal, people disregard whats going on and things go from bad to worse?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We just need to pray that the cases will decrease.

Even as an atheist I reckon prayers are a better bet than relying on the Japanese government to get the vaccines rolling out any time soon.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Company employee Keisuke Munakata, a 55-year-old resident of Tokyo, said he commutes in every day because he has many meetings to attend.

Meetings can be held online...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

One of our friends works for KDDI in customer phone service, since the start they have all had to go into the office everyday and this latest SOE hasn't changed that.

One would think that of all the companies in Japan KDDI would be able to set up their systems to transfer support calls to their employee's homes via VoIP, cellphone, etc...

So if the Japanese government can't even get a company like KDDI to change, good luck getting less tecn savvy Companies to do it.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The only thing two-week SOE is going to achieve is more fudged statistics. .

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Meetings can be held online...

Even the dinosaurs in our place can use Zoom.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Antiquesaving

You have nailed it on the head.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So if the Japanese government can't even get a company like KDDI to change, good luck getting less tecn savvy Companies to do it.

Well put yourself in the place of the average bucho. He wants to psychologically control and use you to work long hours and get results that he can present to his boss as his own. This type of brain control may be impossible over Zoom where you can just pretend to have a bad connection and cut him off.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

As predicted, nobody is listening to Suga.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

.......really? Old news. Trains are always packed since SOE number day 1 of 1

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Antiquesaving

I totally agree with your comment about old Japanese guys not wanting to change. And therein lies the problem. Resistance to change.

They all deserve to be left behind and lose their jobs because the world itself has moved rapidly into an era of technological advancement where it is required that we all be computer savvy and possess the knowledge to operate systems such as Zoom and other software programs which, in turn, allow us to work remotely.

I'm quite certain that their tendency to always pass the buck to a younger crowd is an indication of their unwillingness to learn new things.

Such older individuals would rather spend their time mired in 20th century paperwork that doesn't require much thinking and thus allows them to daydream about getting together with their buddies after work for a night of drunkenness at the hostess clubs where, at least, their feeble minds are stimulated by entertainment that will only further their descent into eternal dementia.

In order that Japan is able to get a handle on this virus, remote working is essential.

Japanese themselves need to change, and hopefully, the younger generation will initiate steps to ensure this become the norm.

The older generation who has no desire to conform needs to be weeded out. It's better that, in my opinion, we replace their unwilling attitudes and feeblemindedness with computers or robots capable of completing the tasks at hand.

Viruses such as COVID-19 are guaranteed to be with us in the future, as well as now, and adaption and preparedness are necessary to face them in a manner that ultimately prioritizes our safety. This means business as usual should not be an option.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why is this news?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

""The variant, discovered in India, has the features of two different coronavirus mutations and may be highly contagious.""

I recall back around mid 2020 2 scientists in Hong Kong warned of a tow or more viruses merging to form a super infectious virus that could spread at a higher rate and cause much higher fatalities at short times after infection, or within 24 hours.

Are we there now??

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Which tells us the government is completely out of sync with the people. The commuters heading to work demonstrate that the general public have more sense than elected and unelected policy makers who keep repeating the same mistake. Lockdowns do little except damage the economy, and if India is anything to go by, harsh lockdowns make the situation much worse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't live in any of those prefectures but if I did, I would ingnore their request, it is just that a request. It's been a year already, we can't continue to live like this forever.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So if the Japanese government can't even get a company like KDDI to change, good luck getting less tecn savvy Companies to do it.

How about the government itself, how about the city and prefectural governments are they teleworking ?

No they aren't. The government is supposed to be setting the pace but they aren't. It is strange that Posters here aren't pointing fingers at the government

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This state of emergency is a joke! The people are not going to stop going out to crowded place and to work UNLESS the government start fining the companies and establishments that go against the law. This state of emergency declaration is nothing but an option which tells the companies and the people stay at home only if you want to. Its the government vs. the people. Should people start dropping off like flies the government response would be they issued a declaration but the people didn't obey it. It simple one receptionist said she had to go into work because she has to answer the phones. If no one goes to work there would be no phones ringing. Japan being a very high tech country is really looking backwards. After May 11th if would be interesting to see if the number decline. I DOUBT IT!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@David Shawn Kanda AND @Antiquesaving

I totally agree with THE comment about old Japanese guys not wanting to change. THE only way Japan is going to change is the old feeble minded paper pushing, mind controlling bosses die of. What Japan can see is that the rest of the world is way ahead of them in terms of controlling the virus and getting vaccines. The SOE has to become mandatory not voluntary. The people are going to work only to die from over working or covid they are working to dig their own graves!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Emergency in Japan what kind of emergency is that when people have to go out to work close everything for 2 weeks or go on for 5 years with this emergency

0 ( +0 / -0 )

God the danger to themselves and others.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japanese government gave 100000 yen to everyone last year we still are not able to spend that much money thank you Japanese government... what a stupid government

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No they aren't. The government is supposed to be setting the pace but they aren't. It is strange that Posters here aren't pointing fingers at the government

Pointed that out so many times, I got tired of doing it.

Had to go so often this year to the city office because nothing can be done or fixed online or by phone that just seeing me walk in had people running for cover as they knew my wife and I would be yelling at them for being so stupid.

The last time just 2 weeks ago we went to the local city satellite office and found it closed because someone had Covid-19.

We then went to the main city office and saw all those that usually work at the satellite office working there.

Wife was so angry she started yelling at the city workers as to why they closed the other office but were in the main office.

The whole thing got really messy as people being served or waiting to be served got really upset after hearing this.

We left didn't go back called and said we are not ever going back until the pandemic is over and they had better fix our problem without us going in.

We are now waiting to see what they do.

But simply they are so entrenched in their old paper files and paper this and that, they have no clue what or how to do otherwise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Almost like people have had enough after over a year. Even the most respectful law abiding people have their limits. Enough is enough.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The SOE has to become mandatory not voluntary. 

Only one big problem with that ( and many smaller ones).

The top places absolutely incapable of working during a lockdown due to lack of technology, overbearing bureaucracy and total incompetence are the different levels of government all so set in their paper pushing ways they have no idea how to work remotely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Its a good job that silent commuting while wearing masks doesn't seem to be a major factor, if any factor at all in virus transmission. I think one of the main reasons for the reluctance to even try teleworking could be the need to hide the fact that some positions could quite easily be terminated without any loss of office function.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the government is not taking covid seriously how can they expect the general population to do so. The government should be leading by example.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah but creating the infrastructure to do everything online is costly and time consuming. You just can expect the vast majority of companies to do it within a year.

If Japanese companies would have gotten on board with digitizing their stuff and investing in IT infrastructure years before the pandemic hit, they would not be in the pickle they are in now. J-inc's refusal and reluctance to adopt IT into their workplace has come back to bite them severely in the behind. COVID has shed harsh light on just how backwards a lot of companies are run here - I mean some still use fax machines! Their lack of modernizing has finally caught up with them and now they're paying for it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Keisuke Munakata, a 55-year-old resident of Tokyo, said he commutes in every day because he has many meetings to attend.

possibly next week munakta wont be in the office for a pointless meeting, as he caught covid, his wife and children are attending a funeral.

When will these lemmings wake up to what is realy happening in the world?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

maybe remote 100% all the government employees and there would be a huge drop in commuters hmm??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For a 1st world country, the Japanese government’s handling of these SOEs is embarrassing. More pressure needs to be put on these Companies. Guys, the virus is spreading! Yet trains are still crowded.. amazing!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Company employee Keisuke Munakata, a 55-year-old resident of Tokyo, said he commutes in every day because he has many meetings to attend.

MS Teams, Zoom, Skype, Line . . . . . . Japan is so inaka when it comes to remote working. If a global pandemic, thousands of infections and deaths in Japn can't shift this, what can?

"It cannot be helped that the state of emergency was declared given the situation that coronavirus variants are spreading. We just need to pray that the cases will decrease," he said.

How about, not travel. Isolate. vaccinate.

Pray??????

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the real dilemma is that we're in a situation where the government needs to enforce a lockdown like in western countries, but can't due to lacking legislation and the immense difficulty the government faces in enforcing such a cut to human rights

Seeing how many people and companies are just simply ignoring the SoE, I would say that the way society acts actually justifies draconian measures like they did in China. A part of society will suffer even more than they do now, but it's a necessary evil imo because people can simply not be trusted. So, in this regard, we simply need to make the government more like China's government, which is a government that governs more. (props for those who get it)

Japan was never ready to quickly act or react in regards to this (or any other) pandemic. She wasn't back then, isn't now and won't be for a while, maybe even forever. All we can do is wait for the vaccine and hope things get better. Or, if you are a foreigner, you could go back to your respective countries where the situation is hopefully not so dire, I guess.

I wouldn't want to be a government official right now, seeing how they must be wanting to do something, but lack the necessary tools to do so. I'm starting to get "Japan's government has collapsed..."-vibes from this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't live in any of those prefectures but if I did, I would ingnore their request, it is just that a request. It's been a year already, we can't continue to live like this forever.

Hikikomori live like that. It can be done.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FuranToday 10:38 am JST

I think the real dilemma is that we're in a situation where the government needs to enforce a lockdown like in western countries, but can't due to lacking legislation and the immense difficulty the government faces in enforcing such a cut to human rights

Even the relatively mild bill with criminal sanctions they tried to push awhile back had to be pared back to allow only for some small fines. One wonders whether it's really about human rights or "company rights".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have been avoiding going out as much as I can since the beginning.

Fatigue has definitely set in. But, I would hate to get the Covid now, when vaccines might be available as soon as Obon or September...

Invalid CSRF

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Crowds of commuters were seen Monday morning in areas under the third coronavirus state of emergency despite the government's calls for companies to implement remote working to curb the spread of the virus.

Companies are already using telework, but it is impossible to run the whole economy like this.

To reduce the rush hour crush, it would make more sense to implement staggered work hours, use more trains, and expand e.g. restaurant opening hours.

Alas, it seems the politicians want to do the opposite by shortening hours and decreasing trains, thus pushing people more closely together. Brilliant policy... not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

not like they cancelled work. so of course commuting is packed when they also decrease the number of busses and trains.

Just cancelled bars and restaurants and alcohol and anything whatsoever that could be fun or provide leisure.

not much unusual to see here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites