Dear TUJ community:

Congratulations on the successful completion of our spring 2021 semester. As we move into the Golden Week holiday break, the national government has declared a third state of emergency in Tokyo and several western prefectures from April 25th through May 11th. Among other things, there is a desire to reverse current trends and keep COVID-19 cases down to protect individual health, community well-being, and to prevent an overload on medical facilities.
Given the timing of the declaration, the impact of this declaration on our operations should be minimal unless the state of emergency is extended. As we strive to balance safety and service, we appreciate your continued flexibility and understanding. Here are several notes about the recent declaration.

1.Purpose of the third state of emergency?

To help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, the new declaration is primarily designed to discourage congregating, entertainment, and travel over the holiday break. Consequently, the government is asking bars, restaurants serving alcohol, karaoke establishments, theme parks, malls, department stores, museums, and theaters to close. Restaurants not serving alcohol and public transportation will operate on reduced schedules. Grocery stores and schools will remain open.

2. How are TUJ and other universities impacted?

In the case of universities, the government has asked for a temporary shift to online classes. With the exception of our graduate education and law programs, TUJ summer classes do not start until May 24th. As such, the impact of the current order is limited at this time. Hopefully, this third state of emergency will have its intended effect and an extension will not be necessary. At the same time, we should be ready to adjust our approach in the event that the state of emergency order is extended. We will continue to vigilantly monitor the situation and follow the guidance provided by local experts, governmental officials, and main campus. We will evaluate any changes to the mode of class delivery for summer semester after May 11th.

3. Staffing of our offices

Safety is certainly a top priority with respect to our staff, faculty, and students. Our approaches to date have largely been effective. One of these approaches has been telework. Identical to the previous declaration, businesses are again being encouraged to have at least 70% of their employees telework. With our ongoing approach to telework, we are likely close to this level.

During the third state of emergency though, we want to continue minimizing the number of employees commuting to campus while maximizing service to our students. What exactly does this mean?

  • For administrative departments that can complete their work remotely, we ask that telework be utilized to the extent possible. If you cannot effectively complete your work remotely, we ask that you come to campus while taking the standard precautions.
  • For those employees working in student-facing offices, we seek in-person staffing levels that will meet student needs. Depending on the office and type of interactions, this might typically mean that one staff member is present on campus while other staff members are readily available online. Naturally, the student needs may differ during the semester break allowing for a slightly different approach through May 11th.
Employees coming to the campus should continue to sign in at the front desk to enable reimbursement of standard commuting expenses under our current policies on commuting and telework allowances.


4. Will campus continue to be open?

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tokyo and adjust our approach if necessary. At this point in time, the campus will be closed on the national holidays. On the other days, it will be open albeit with limited hours.
As expressed in the past, we again want to express our appreciation to help TUJ and our students navigate through the challenges caused by COVID-19. If you have any concerns or there is anything that we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out. As mentioned in my recent Town Hall meetings, I hope that everyone will take advantage of the upcoming extended holiday period to relax and rejuvenate.

Matthew J. Wilson, Esq.