The coronavirus pandemic has hit Japan’s economy hard and many factories, including those of carmakers, are scaling back production.Foreign workers are particularly vulnerable, with a weaker support network and language barriers that prevent them from seeking government help.Union groups, labor lawyers and nonprofit organizations say foreign workers such as Yamashita are the first to lose jobs in “corona cuts”, which they fear may expand to the kind of mass layoffs seen in the 2008 financial crisis.Last month, the Japan Center for Economic Research estimated that if Japan’s GDP contracted by 25 percent this year, the unemployment rate would reach 5% and about 2 million people could lose their jobs. Topics : In March and April, a labor organization based in Mie, a manufacturing center about 300km west of Tokyo, received 400 consultations from laborers who were affected by the coronavirus. About 330 were foreign workers.”Foreign workers on short-term contracts are laid off first,” because they’re easier to fire, Union Mie organizer Akai Jimbu said.Last year, 34.5 percent of foreign employees in Mie were temporary workers, compared with the national average of 2.5 percent.”It’s almost like they’re hired so that they can be fired when the going gets tough,” Jimbu said. “They’re just a spare bolt in the eyes of the employer.”‘First to go’Japan has become increasingly reliant on foreign labor. With a third of its population over 65 and a smaller working population, the government has eased some immigration restrictions.More than 1.6 million foreign workers supported the Japanese economy as of October 2019 – a four-fold increase from 2008.A labor ministry official told Reuters the ministry does not officially track the number of foreign workers laid off because it provides “support to all workers” regardless of their nationality.Still, the government recently allocated 370 million yen ($3.46 million) to improve multilingual support for foreigners at unemployment offices and online.But most foreign workers don’t turn to the government for help. While Union Mie handled hundreds of consultations this year through mid-April, the local labor ministry office saw only seven.Kaori Nakao, a Japanese-Brazilian woman, sought help from the union when her employer laid her off from a car component factory at the end of March.The company told her she was being fired because of coronavirus-related production cuts. Nakao, 38, was also ordered to leave her company apartment.Pregnant with her fourth child and with no savings, she asked Union Mie for help.Last month, union members and Nakao protested outside her employer’s office and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems factory where she worked.Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems declined to comment because it did not employ Nakao.”I just want to work,” Nakao said. “I have zero money and I can’t even buy food for my children.”Yamashita, who is still looking for jobs, said he had found an open position at another car parts factory a few weeks ago.The contract was only for three months – maybe even less. Still, Yamashita said, it was something. He interviewed for the job, and was looking forward to a respite from searching.But then he got a call. The position wasn’t available anymore.”We are the first to go,” he says of foreigners working in Japan. “I already know about that.” Eight years after arriving from Brazil, Rennan Yamashita sat in a government office in central Japan, filling out forms for unemployment insurance after losing his job for the ninth or 10th time – he has lost count.Some weeks earlier, he was laid off from his job at a car parts factory. He only held that job for four months.”If they need you, they hire you; if they don’t need you, they’ll fire you. It’s simple like that,” said Yamashita, 31.
Pulis has not selected Berahino since August 15’s draw with Watford due to concerns over the 22-year-old’s state of mind. He now faces the difficult task of reintegrating a player who appeared more than ready to burn his bridges and – while he accepts Berahino’s desire to develop at the top level – he admits the striker will have to work hard to win over both team-mates and fans. Pulis told the Daily Mail: “Saido’s problem has been how he he’s gone about it. I spoke to Saido and told him not to get involved in anything else but football but again, unfortunately, he didn’t listen. By handing in a transfer request, he only antagonised the whole situation. “Respect has to be earned and Saido has to learn that lesson. West Brom have nurtured Saido’s career for over a decade, they deserve the utmost respect and at times unwillingly he has shown them little. He has to grow up and wise up to the fact that people at West Brom have supported him right from the beginning of his career. “It will be difficult to integrate Saido into this group. His attitude will be questioned. The supporters will also be looking for a player who wears their badge with commitment and honesty, they will want to see Saido showing the respect they deserve.” Regardless of those difficulties, Pulis is adamant Berahino’s threat to down tools will not come to pass and that his differences with Peace are separate from footballing concerns. ” His gripe is with Jeremy – as far as I’m concerned, he will play for West Brom again,” he said. ” I don’t think he will talk to Jeremy. The problem is that he thinks he is being used. Press Association Berahino was the subject of several bids from Tottenham during the transfer window and attempted to force through a move, first by submitting a transfer request and then with a tweet in which he threatened “I can officially say I will never play (for club chairman) Jeremy Peace”. He was granted a period of leave – during which he won few friends by tweeting a picture of himself on a private jet – but is due to return to training on Monday and manager Pulis then plans to speak to the player and his mother over dinner. “If you look at the club, Jeremy has sold players when it has suited him. Look at Shane Long, he sold him (to Hull last January) at a time when the club was left without a recognised forward. I think Saido thinks (Peace) is just looking at finances all the time.” Berahino scored 14 Barclays Premier League goals, and 20 in all competitions, last season but has played just twice so far in the new campaign, without finding the net. He earned his first call-up to the senior England squad in November for games against Slovenia and Scotland. Tony Pulis will welcome Saido Berahino back into his West Brom squad – but will do so with some strong words for the controversial striker.
Since then, players were allowed to return home and, unless a rehabbing player, have not been allowed to skate. Rumors have swirled that the league may return over the summer to finish out the season and compete for the Stanley Cup; however, a definitive timeline or potentially an isolated location is still to be determined.Here’s a timeline of events of how the coronavirus has impacted the league.(All times Eastern)April 1410:43 a.m. — The NHL announces the extension of the self-imposed quarantine of players to April 30.Update on @NHL Self-Quarantine Recommendation. pic.twitter.com/STgNBTf4bv— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 14, 2020April 132:55 p.m. — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and said the league is “exploring all options” but they have no control over when that will be. He added that the NHL is checking into all angles regarding when it is viable for sports to return, including holding games without fans, and that players will need about “two or three weeks to get back into playing shape” when that does happen. MORE: Bettman, Cooper discuss the NHL’s next stepsApril 73:57 p.m. — The NHL announced that a third Colorado Avalanche player had tested positive for COVID-19, raising the reported number of players across the league who have tested positive for COVID-19 to eight.Statement from the @NHL regarding @Avalanche player. pic.twitter.com/gQO2WOXzEK— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 7, 2020April 12:14 p.m. — The Ottawa Senators announced four more team members has tested positive for the coronavirus. According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, three of the members were players with Ottawa saying they’ve now received all the test results.#Sens announce 4 additional members of the organization who travelled to California prior to season’s pause have tested positive for COVID-19.Believed to be 3 players and 1 staff member.That brings #NHL total to 7 players COVID-19+, 5 on the #sens and 2 on the #Avs.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) April 1, 2020March 312:06 p.m. — According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL has extended the teams’ self-isolation period to April 15. The self-isolation period was scheduled to end on April 4.NHL has extended teams self isolation period to April 15th.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 31, 2020March 281:16 p.m. — The Colorado Avalanche announced that a second unnamed player has tested positive for the coronavirus and he’s currently in self-isolation.”All other Avalanche players, staff and others who might have had close contact with the player and have been informed and remain isolated per prior League direction and are monitoring their health and will be in touch with Club medical staff as necessary,” the team statement said. “No other Avalanche players or staff members have shown symptoms at this time.” March 279:20 p.m. — Ottawa radio analyst Gord Wilson, a longtime commentator for Senators games on TSN 1200, confirms his positive test for COVID-19. Wilson self-isolated from his family after returning from the Senators’ California road trip March 12.“It’s hit me hard enough,” Wilson told the Ottawa Sun. “I haven’t felt good for two weeks. The worst was last weekend. So I’m hitting a week here at least with shortness of breath and feeling lethargic. I walk up a flight of steps here and I’m out of breath.“The biggest thing is the lack of taste and smell. I’m down about eight or nine pounds. I’m not eating as much.”5:30 p.m. — The St. Louis Blues announced that Fox Sports Midwest broadcaster John Kelly has tested positive for the coronavirus.”The St. Louis Blues are confirming that play-by-play announcer John Kelly has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” the team said in a statement. “John (Kelly) has been in self-quarantine since March 13. We are thrilled to report that John is feeling strong and symptom-free.”Kelly was interviewed by Blues broadcaster Chris Kerber detailing his experience and recovery. After getting tested for the coronavirus, Kelly said he was initially diagnosed with pneumonia and got “very sick.” He said he has turned a corner this week and plans to remain in self-quarantine for another week.WATCH LIVE: @Jkellyhockey discusses his positive test for COVID-19 with @chriskerber. #stlblues https://t.co/iEPx3xR1tB— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 27, 2020March 264:39 p.m. — The Colorado Avalanche announced that an unnamed player has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the third NHL player to test positive.”The player has been at home in isolation since the first symptoms appeared, has recovered and is back to normal,” the statement said. “The Avalanche have notified anyone who has had close contact with the athlete.”March 255:06 p.m. — The NHL announced on Wednesday that the scouting combine, the NHL Awards and the NHL Draft were all being postponed.The @NHL has announced the postponements of the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards and the 2020 NHL Draft. https://t.co/m0mXPAyIhN #NHLCombine #NHLDraft #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/iWZjW1Yw1f— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2020The three events were all scheduled to take place in June, with the scouting combine originally set for June 1-6, the NHL Awards set for June 18 and the NHL Draft set for June 26-27. There’s been no word yet as to when the events will be rescheduled. March 245:18 p.m. — According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the NHL told all general managers that the self-quarantine period will be extended for 10 more days. March 27 was the original end date for teams to self-quarantine.One item of note on the call today: league told GMs that the period of self-quarantine for clubs will be extended 10 days past the original date of March 27 (Friday) from the original guidelines. Not surprising of course. Stay home! https://t.co/i9d1Hna9aV— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 24, 2020March 211:27 p.m. — The Ottawa Senators announced that a second unnamed player has tested positive for COVID-19. The team said that the player was a part of the team’s most recent California road trip.Of the 52 people who traveled with the team, 44 have shown no symptoms with eight tested for COVID-19. Ottawa says they are still awaiting test results conducted March 18-20.MORE: Two unnamed Senators players test positive for coronavirusMarch 1711:54 p.m. — The Ottawa Senators announced that an unnamed player has tested positive for COVID-19. It’s the NHL’s first positive player test.”The player has had mild symptoms and is in isolation,” the team’s press release said.March 165:00 p.m. — The AHL announced Monday that it will be suspending the season until at least May.Update from @TheAHL regarding 2019-20 season: pic.twitter.com/noYAnHyWYv— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) March 16, 20201:22 p.m. — The NHL announced on Monday that it was issuing a new directive to players. Update from the NHL regarding player activity and movement during season pause: pic.twitter.com/yeFjII7W49— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 16, 2020Players are free to return home to any country but are required to self-quarantine until at least March 27. After that date, a decision will be made on whether to allow teams to re-open their facilities. The league also mentioned a potential training camp period in the weeks leading up to the resumption of the season.Inside the 1919 Stanley Cup Final: The year a pandemic ended the NHL seasonMarch 136:37 p.m. — John Wawrow of The Associated Press adds that the memo outlines a two-phase plan for players to return to team facilities and on-ice sessions.Phase 2 could — stress could — ideally happen within 1 to 2 weeks, but is contingent on developing state of the coronavirus and advice of health officials.— John Wawrow (@john_wawrow) March 13, 20206:08 p.m. — Los Angeles Times columnist Helene Elliott reports that in a memo sent by the NHL to players, they are being asked to self-quarantine for six days.NHL players are being asked to self-quarantine for six days. Then things will be reassessed. Players who are disabled or injured will be allowed to come to team facilities for treatment starting Saturday. League will pay remaining paychecks to players.— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) March 13, 20201:25 p.m. — In an interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman discusses the timeline of conversations he’s had regarding possible contingencies. Bettman said he was exploring whether or not there would be a point in which the NHL season would have to be shut down.”In all of those scenarios, and in every discussion I would have, either internally or with clubs, particularly owners, I always ended with the caveat, ‘You understand that if a player tests positive we’re done for the time being at least,'” he said.The commissioner added tha as soon he heard the NBA was suspending its season after a player was tested positive for COVID-19, it was inevitable that an NHL player would test positive.MORE: Gary Bettman on when NHL will return from coronavirus shutdown”It was at this point I said, ‘Okay, we got to take a pause.’ I immediately made arrangements for a conference call with the governors for the next day,” Bettman said. “There was no doubt in my mind as to where we were going to be, but there was no reason for me to, at that moment, say we’re taking a pause.”The moment the call was over, we issued the release and said we were going to stop playing for a bit.” 11:47 a.m. — According to The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock, Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster John Forslund is among two staffers who are in self-quarantine after he was told he stayed in the same Detroit hotel room as Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11. Forslund was isolated in the front of the team plane on their flight home to New Jersey and will now quarantine in the basement of his house for the next 10 days to see if he develops any symptoms.”It’s serious,” Forslund told the paper. “We’ve got to listen to what we’re supposed to do and act accordingly.”March 1211:04 p.m. — The San Jose Sharks release a statement saying that a part-time employee working at SAP Center tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the team, the person is under self-quarantine and receiving care from medical professionals. The employee last worked during the Sharks’ game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 3.7:52 p.m. — In an interview with CNBC, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says there have been no reported cases at this point. Bettman decided to suspend the season once the Utah Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus. He opted to take extra precautions considering NHL teams often share locker rooms with NBA teams.”When the NBA had a positive test and they had to cancel a game at that moment, I decided to get ahead of it and not wait for one of our players to test positive,” Bettman said.He added that he hopes to resume the season and crown a Stanley Cup champion this year once it’s safe.4:00 p.m. — The AHL announces they will be suspending play.American Hockey League suspends play.Details: https://t.co/EmR4AmMRdn pic.twitter.com/3nZu2fA2Kh— AHL (@TheAHL) March 12, 20202:59 p.m. — According to The Athletic, the Tampa Bay Lightning release a statement about using the same locker room as the Utah Jazz when they were in Boston. The team says that the locker room was cleaned and sanitized before their arrival and that no one in hockey operations has experienced any symptoms.#tblightning release statement on using same lockeroom as Jazz over weekend in Boston. Team knew arena had cleaning + sanitization before arrival. Had no contact w/ infected person. “Nobody in hockey operations has any symptoms, we are not subject to being tested at this time.”— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) March 12, 20201:36 p.m. — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announces the 2019-20 season will be paused.The NHL pauses the 2019-20 season. pic.twitter.com/bCi776ZFqX— NHL (@NHL) March 12, 20209:54 a.m. — NHL tells teams to not conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings.Given the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, Clubs are advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2020March 1110:12 p.m. — After the NBA announced they were suspending their season, the NHL announces they will provide a further update on March 12. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the suspensions of all in North America.After the NBA suspended its season on March 11, the NHL was one of many leagues to follow suit the following day and announced it would be pausing the 2019-20 season. National Hockey League Statement Regarding Coronavirus: https://t.co/AKrmh8ao4F pic.twitter.com/PZ7dQBbGVB— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 20206:38 p.m. — The San Jose Sharks announce all three March home games will be closed to the general public. This comes after Santa Clara County banned all large gatherings on March 9. Only home and visiting club personnel, approved credential media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials will be allowed to attend.MORE: Amid coronavirus pandemic, Blue Jackets, Sharks to play home games without fans6:00 p.m. — The Columbus Blue Jackets announce remaining home games will be closed to the general public following Ohio governor Mike DeWine’s order prohibiting mass gatherings in the state.Full #CBJ statement on the upcoming home game schedule. pic.twitter.com/krGEcEnd76— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 11, 2020