The opening of Japan’s borders has resulted in many ways we anticipated, and a few we did not.
Our Q1 Asia Situation Report indicated the direction Japan was headed and the confirmation of our estimates has arrived, a bit earlier than anticipated.
Japan has opened its borders to permit up to 10,000 people per day to arrive. Starting June 1, the government will double this limit to 20,000 people per day. Despite the small number of tourists who will be able to enter the country at that time, we anticipate a further increase in the number of relocating personnel entering Japan.
The rush of entrants puts extreme pressure on all the resources and services that support an expat assignment, including both permanent and temporary housing. The strain is highest in Tokyo, but the effects are felt across Japan.
We anticipated an increase in initiations when borders opened. However, it was impossible to predict the volume and the extension of timeframes for services necessitated by the shortage of housing and delays in response times from service providers due to their system overloads.
All our Japan offices are operating at maximum capacity and will be through June and potentially the first half of July. Therefore, we are finding it difficult to accept all requests for service initiations and are working hard to accommodate critical moves, especially from our long-standing clients. However, the reality remains that there are not enough available external or internal resources to support the volume of enquiries and new initiations.
We have partnered with another company or referred clients elsewhere during rare moments in the past when our team did not have availability. However, presently everyone is in the same position.
We continue to bring on new team members in all our office locations. In the last three weeks, we have added nine new team members, and with the existing state of things can confidently ensure capacity in August at an increased level.
Increasing our team numbers is only one part of the overall problem. The supply of everything assignees need to settle in Japan is in short supply, most especially expat-style housing. Therefore, we encourage all of our partners to first consult with us about the ability to handle new files based on arrival dates before sending the authorization.