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35% of Japan workers, 55% of Tokyoites have teleworked during coronavirus crisis: poll

The Central Government Building No. 4 that houses the Cabinet Office is seen in this file photo in the Kasumigaseki district of Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on April 26, 2017. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- A Cabinet Office survey on changes in the public's views and behavior due to the spread of the novel coronavirus has found 34.6% of respondents with jobs and 55.5% of workers in Tokyo's special wards have experienced teleworking.

The Cabinet Office on June 21 announced the results of the survey, conducted online from May 25 to June 5. Among the 10,128 respondents nationwide, 49.9% said they "became more aware of the importance of family" compared to before coronavirus infections spread in the country.

While 21.9% said they "became more aware of the importance of their jobs," 31.5% said they "became aware of the significance of non-work related matters."

By job types, 50.7% of workers from businesses related to education and study support teleworked, while 47.5% of those in finance, insurance and real estate companies did the same. Meanwhile, only 9.8% in the medical, welfare and child care industry, and 17.1% in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors worked remotely.

Among those who experienced teleworking, 64.2% said they "now put more emphasis on their daily lives than work," while the figure shrank to 34.4% among those who did not take part in telecommuting. Furthermore, 24.6% of those who experienced teleworking said they "have a growing interest in regional migration," while 46.3% answered they "experienced a change in their choice of occupation, side jobs and other preferences."

In a question allowing multiple answers asking about issues they face in expanding telework, 44.2% said, "improving company meetings and decision-making methods," while 42.3% responded, "digitization of documents and going paperless."

In questions aimed at people working in the 23 wards of Tokyo, 56.1% answered that "time spent on commuting has been reduced." Among these, 72.7% said they "want to keep the (reduced) amount of time now spent on commuting."

In questions targeting students and households raising children, 69.2% of elementary and junior high school kids attended online classes, including lessons conducted by cram schools and extracurricular activities, in Tokyo's 23 wards -- but the figure was only 33.9% in regional areas. While 95.4% of students in university and grad school participated in online classes, the figure stood at 50% for high school students.

Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said in a June 21 press conference, "We would like to proceed with the digitalization and online systematization of all of society with top priority."

(Japanese original by Aoi Hanazawa, Political News Department)

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