The United States, Japan, and the Rise of Telework during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A man participates in a virtual meeting from home

Photo by Katty Sever/Adobe Stock

Event Details


Thursday, February 4, 2021


4:00 - 5:30 p.m. EST
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. PST

How to Attend

Registration for this event has closed.

About the Program

As both the U.S. and Japan respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a major shift has occurred towards support for and use of teleworking as a way to safely continue to engage in certain types of job fields. While not an option for all labor market segments, the growth of telework raises a number of interesting questions about the future of certain types of economic activities in both countries, with implications for growth, worker safety, socialization, office space demand, equitable access to broadband internet, privacy, and a host of other issues.

In order to explore these issues, on February 4, 2021, the RAND Corporation will convene a conference that will bring together experts on work and society from the U.S. and Japan to discuss how the two sides of the Pacific are adapting to the challenges of working on-line during COVID, what changes are likely to fade and which will prove more permanent when the pandemic eases, what policy questions leaders in each country are grappling with, and any lessons the two countries can learn from each other's experiences and responses. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor (1993 – 1997) the Hon. Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Policy, University of California at Berkeley will provide a set of keynote remarks.


Protecting Workers' Employment and Health during a Pandemic

Robert Reich

The Hon. Prof. Robert B. Reich

Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
22nd U.S. Secretary of Labor (1993 – 1997)


Will the Pandemic Lead to Permanent Shifts in the Way Americans Work?

Kathryn Bouskill

Kathryn Bouskill

Social Scientist, The RAND Corporation
Associate Director, RAND Center for Global Risk and Security

How the Pandemic is Changing the Way Japan Works

Ichikawa Hiroo

Ichikawa Hiroo

Dean of the Meiji University Professional Graduate School
Professor, Meiji University


Scott W. Harold

Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation


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For questions about the event, contact Francisco Walter at