JR Central will phase in the furlough scheme by putting around 400 workers on leave per day from Monday onwards, and measures will target a broad range of JR Central employees, including maintenance staff, Shinkansen crew and station staff on both conventional and high-speed lines.  

The railway says that the measures are meant to minimise costs in the face of falling passenger demand and reduce the spread of infection among its employees. 

JR Central previously announced plans to reduce the number of its Shinkansen high-speed services from January 25 until the end of February.  

That move was announced in response to a state of emergency declared on January 7 by Japanese prime minister, Mr Yoshihide Suga. The state of emergency, which originally applied in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures, was later extended to a further eight on January 14.