90% of Japanese firms plan to skip year-end, New Year parties due to virus

Japan Today -- Dec 14
Nearly nine out of 10 Japanese companies plan to suspend their year-end and New Year parties to help reduce the risk of employees becoming infected with the coronavirus, a recent survey showed, in what would be another pandemic-induced disruption of the country's seasonal traditions.

Annual parties to look back on a passing year and then another to mark a new year, called bonenkai and shinnenkai, respectively, are treated as important customs in Japan's corporate culture, making the period between December and January one of the most festive times in the country.

However, this year, 87.8 percent of 10,059 firms across the country have not scheduled such eating and drinking functions, according to a survey conducted by Tokyo Shoko Research.

The figure collected via an online questionnaire from Nov. 9 through 16 came even before recent record increases of infection cases in many parts of the country. The daily national total has reached a record high of over 3,000 this month.

- Japan Today