For Japanese workers in Beijing, their utmost concern now is not the tense diplomatic relations between the two countries, but the more immediate air contamination problem brought on by PM2.5 particles which are known to pose a huge danger to the health of those who breathe it in. Some of them have already sent their families back home to Japan to escape the worsening air pollution in China, particularly in the northern region.
The Embassy of Japan in China, upon the advice of physician Kazushi Miyatake, has told those working in Beijing that they have three options: go on vacation away from the area, change their residence or look for another job that is far away from the pollution. As of October 28, the concentration of PM2.5 particles was already at 200 micrograms per cubic meter of air around Beijing. That’s a lot more than the 70 micrograms that in Japan would have turned into an advisory for people to stay indoors except for emergency purposes.
Japanese companies in China have been coming up with different solutions to help their employees cope with the problem. Some examples include Canon distributing masks to all their workers while Honda has given their employees funds to buy air purifiers for their homes. The Hitachi Group has reported that the number of employees who have sent their families back home has risen. Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) have said they are considering increasing compensation for embassy employees stationed in Beijing and other Chinese cities because of the worsening working environment they are experiencing. The situation is expected to worsen as winter approaches, because then residents will begin using coal-fired heaters.
[ via The Mainichi ]