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As omicron surges, Japan fears twin threat of worker and parts shortages

Mazda and Daikin ban parties, while JR East preps standby train operators

A woman wearing a protective face mask sits in a coffee shop in Tokyo. Daily new cases in Japan are topping 20,000 for the first time since September.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- From auto factories to nursing homes to trains, workplaces in Japan face the risk that the fast-spreading omicron variant will leave them without enough staff to maintain operations.

Some, including Mazda Motor and major air conditioner manufacturer Daikin, have barred lunch or dinner parties. Others, like East Japan Railway, or JR East, are training staff to ensure that they have enough front-line workers.

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