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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Matsushita's Workers to Work From Home

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Wednesday it would begin a telework programme for nearly half of its employees in Japan as part of the private sector's effort to cope with an ageing society.

Some 30,000 of its 76,000 employees, excluding factory workers, safety inspectors, secretaries and some others, will be eligible to work from home starting on April 1, said the electronics giant behind the Panasonic brand.

Under the programme, applicants will be allowed to work from home once or twice a week on average, with the company loaning out computers and cameras to them for on-line conferences.

The stay-home workers will do their jobs through high-speed Internet lines and report their hours to their supervisors by e-mail or telephone, the company said.

"The programme will allow our employees to have job flexibility to take care of children or the elderly," the said company spokesman Akira Kadotad.

"On the other hand, it will allow the company to secure talented workers as the country is faced with the problem of an ageing society," Kadota said.

IBM Japan Ltd., which adopted a work-from-home policy for all personnel in 2001, has led the way in telecommuting in Japan. Depending on the department, roughly 30 percent of IBM Japan workers telecommute one or two days a week.

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