Japan hospitals cut staff bonuses as coronavirus drives them into the red

TOKYO – About a third of Japanese medical institutions are cutting summer bonuses to staff, a trade union said on Monday (July 13), as many hospitals and clinics face a cash crunch, having had to delay routine treatments to make room for coronavirus patients.

The Japan Federation of Medical Worker’s Unions said that out of 338 organisations surveyed, 115 were planning to cut bonuses below last year’s levels.

Tough working conditions along with pay reductions could persuade more medical staff to retire early, said Mr Kenichi Igarashi, an executive committee member of the union.

Although the number of serious Covid-19 cases has abated, the epidemic brought Japan’s medical system to the brink of collapse in April and May, as patients filled intensive care units and hospitals dealt with internal outbreaks.

“Hospitals that take in Covid-19 patients are especially hard hit financially, which is truly a sad thing,” said Fumie Sakamoto, the infection control manager at St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo.

“The future doesn’t look bright, especially in Tokyo since the number of new cases are on the rise again.”

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