You can do what online!? 5 Ways Japan is Tackling the Coronavirus Outbreak
As companies respond to COVID-19 by encouraging work from home, and people in Japan and everywhere encourage social distancing, lots of Japanese companies have been inspired to finally take their work online. So, just how has coronavirus changed how Japan uses the internet? Here are 5 ways.
① Marriage Counseling & Matchmaking (heart Marriage Counseling)
Marriage counseling service heart (heart結婚相談所) began offering their services online (via smartphone, web, and Skype platforms) on March 15th, allowing users to access both marriage counseling and matchmaking consultation services from their own homes.
- When cases of coronavirus started appearing in Japan's Oita Prefecture (where heart is based) this February, the number of people coming to heart's offices to seek consultations began to drop. People were clearly avoiding heading out into the midst of infection, especially with the danger of counseling sessions spent talking with others face to face. Now, not only can customers receive marriage advice online, but even take advantage of the matchmaking services the company offers, searching for love without ever leaving the house.
heart Marriage Counseling (heart結婚相談所)
Official Website (jp)
② Obstetric Consultations & Pregnancy Checkups (Melody International)
Melody International, a company already on the forefront of pregnancy technology with their mobile fetal monitors, is now working together with Hokkaido University Hospital to open online obstetric exams and consultations.
- In hopes of keeping infection rates among pregnant people low, Hokkaido University Hospital's obstetrics department has been working on this online system, available for a limited time. As a part of this effort, Melody International is loaning the program some of the technology needed to make it happen. Melody International's iCTG fetal monitors check the fetus's heart rate while simultaneously measure the size of the pregnant parent's belly, and their Melody i perinatal healthcare cloud platform supports information flow between doctors and patients, like test results, measurements, and medical advice. Expecting parents can use these services to find the support they need to support their pregnancy, online, while lowering the risk of infection.
Official Website (en)
③ Pet Adoptions & Fostering (Easy Communications)
Easy Communications, who own one of Japan's biggest pet adoption and fostering facilitation services Pet Home (ペットのおうち, Petto no Ouchi), have released a new website
to bring the process online.
- While similar websites have been around in other parts of the world for quite a while, systematic pet adoption services in Japan are still more recent, which is why viral worries clearly made 2020 a good time for Japanese organizations to move online. The most common way to find pets for adoption in Japan has been to participate in periodical adoption events, large gatherings of people coming together to rehome pets. Just the kind of events that are being canceled left and right to avoid spreading coronavirus. Plus, with spring already being the peak of cat litter births, there were worries that facilities housing pets could also become crowded, a further risk.
With the introduction of this online system, the creators are hoping to catch the eye of potential owners and continue to encourage adoptions, while avoiding avoidable infection risks!
Official Website (jp)
Pet Home Website (jp)
④ Kimono Dressing Lessons (Kyoto Kimono Ichiba)
Kyoto Kimono Ichiba (京都きもの市場) is a webshop specializing in traditional kimono, and their managing company has now started offering kimono dressing lessons for those kimono... online!
- With people all over the world in the midst of social distancing, and looking for ways to spend their time at home productively, Kyoto Kimono Ichiba's new courses offer an educational experience all about the challenging art of dressing in kimono. They're hoping to attract students who've always had an interest in kimono, but no chance to learn more about them, and students for whom a commute to classes would be difficult. These are no simple video lectures - the classes are being held in realtime via video conferencing service Zoom, to encourage communication between teachers (March's lessons are being taught by popular kimono youtuber Kimono Sunao!) and students.
Kyoto Kimono Ichiba
Official Website (jp)
⑤ Job Hunting Information Sessions (Precious Partners)
In the midst of the current virus worries, employment consulting firm Precious Partners has released a "Web Information Session Video Pack," a service that allows video information sessions for new graduates to be dispatched 24/7.
- Of course the current situation and the influence of coronavirus worries has thrown everyday life into chaos for people throughout the world, putting Japanese soon-to-be graduates looking for their first jobs in a tight spot. The system for new graduates in Japan is generally a rigorous, but clearly organized and rigidly implemented process of information sessions and interviews, which is problematic when people are trying to avoid gathering with strangers. As the company information sessions and other events that act as opportunities for job hunters to look for new employment are canceled one by one, there's nothing to do but move them online!
The initial response was for individual companies to hold sessions in realtime, but that caused problems for the companies setting them up, and students who had difficulty managing a new, messy schedule of events. Which is why Precious Partners is now offering this service, which helps companies record a session just once, and then use the recording to spread information to the many students searching for it, all through the power of the internet.
Official Website (jp)
While Japan is known as a technological hub, the move to bring everyday activities online in Japan has actually been behind much of the world until surprisingly recently. So, as more and more people are getting serious about practicing social distancing, staying home, and avoiding crowds in the midst of viral spread, the online infrastructure isn't as fleshed out as you might think. The new situation has really pushed companies to think about how to keep things going without bringing people together physically. Perhaps this is just the start of things, and we'll see more and more things moving online in Japan in the future. Only time will tell!
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