70% of Japanese business expats to remain overseas amid pandemic: NNA poll

16, Apr. 2020

Japanese business expatriates are queuing up at check-in counter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for a flight bound for Tokyo's Haneda Airport on April 8, 2020. (NNA)
Japanese business expatriates are queuing up at check-in counter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for a flight bound for Tokyo's Haneda Airport on April 8, 2020. (NNA)

TOKYO, NNA – Around 70 percent of Japanese business people based overseas will stay in those locations during the coronavirus pandemic, largely because of a growing risk of infections in Japan, an NNA survey found.

Of the 1,401 survey respondents, 20.3 percent said they had already returned to Japan and 10.1 percent indicated they were preparing to go back, according to the April 13-14 online survey.

Results of the poll reflect varying COVID-19 responses in the 14 countries and regions where survey respondents are based. Medical systems differ, likewise government control and containment measures.

In India, 78.5 percent of Japanese expatriates in business have left or are getting ready to leave in the wake of a nationwide lockdown from March 25 through May 3. They expressed concern about security, availability of medical services and curbs on daily outings.

Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines also ranked among places that expatriates already left the countries or plan to leave, with nearly two-thirds in Indonesia, 61.6 percent in Myanmar and 46.8 percent in the Philippines.

Some respondents in Myanmar said neighboring Thailand’s ban on entry by foreigners had prompted Japanese business people to return to Japan. They would normally use medical services in Thailand.

In China, the origin of the global epidemic in December, 18.8 percent of people surveyed have left for Japan or are about to go back. But most respondents are inclined to stay because Japan has declared a state of emergency in major metropolitan areas to combat the domestic coronavirus outbreak. They aim now to get factory production and other operations back to normal in China, the poll showed.

Most respondents in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea feel safer staying than returning to Japan. They cite reliable medical and quarantine systems in those three spots. People living in Singapore and Thailand expressed more trust in the governments’ responses to local coronavirus outbreaks compared to the risk of getting infected in Japan.

The Japanese government requires a 14-day self-isolation period for all inbound travelers.

Of the survey responses, people in manufacturing accounted for 43.6 percent, non-manufacturers 44.1 percent and representative offices 12.3 percent.