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Business trends

A more flexible Japan Inc returns to the office

Companies expect remote work to remain as coronavirus pandemic subsides

Commuters at Tokyo's Shinagawa station this week. Businesses expect more remote working after the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Kai Fujii)

TOKYO -- Japanese companies have cautiously started bringing staff back to their offices, balancing a desire to return to normal with concern for employee safety and a nod to the more relaxed working style that emerged during the pandemic.

The nation's state of emergency was fully lifted on Monday, ending a seven-week period when the government urged Japanese to stay home to limit the spread of the coronavirus. While no "lockdown" was enforced, many businesses stayed closed and offices emptied out.

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