COVID-19 Key Employment Law Issues for Employers (Japan)

    March 2020

    In this guide, we set out our answers to some of the key employment law-related questions we have been asked (and to some that we have not yet been asked) by employers in Japan in relation to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly known as the “coronavirus”.

    You will see that, broadly speaking, the lack of knowledge about coronavirus and the speed of its spread has left employers facing similar questions and arriving at similar conclusions, wherever they are based in the world. We are conscious that the situation is changing very rapidly and we are, therefore, updating the information in this guide as soon as we become aware of changes to legislation/guidance/best practices.

    We recommend that you always check the latest position with your local firm labour and employment lawyer. But in whatever country you are dealing with, remember three things: 1) this is not just a legal issue, but also a very human one; 2) these are unprecedented times in recent history; and 3) for both those reasons, a considered and proportionate approach to employee issues will almost always lead to a better outcome than knee-jerk over-reactions or blind compliance with the law, regardless of your actual circumstances. In addition, keep in mind that the coronavirus has potential repercussions for businesses well beyond the bounds of employment law – for example, in relation to commercial terms, data protection and privacy, use of technology, etc. – and, therefore, this guidance cannot be read in isolation.