My name is Jordy Delage, French national, immigrant in Japan and Budoka by nature.
I have spent more than 15 years in Japan practicing Budo and more than a decade building this company called Seido.
I was here when the Tohoku earthquake hit and during the Fukushima crisis that followed and brought part of Japan to its knees.
And I am still here today, during the COVID-19 crisis. A crisis that has no precedent in human history, a crisis that is bringing the whole humanity to its knees.
As Budoka, as a business owner, as an immigrant, and as a human being, I have duties to fulfill, and this message is one of them.
First of all, I would like to address my most honest sympathy to the whole human kind. Not only to Budoka, although it is easier for me to relate with you as we are part of the same community, but to all those who are suffering from the situation, under physical and psychological stress, stranded home or working hard to keep the world afloat, worried about their health, but also to what will happen next once this crisis is over, I would like to tell you all that we are all in the same boat, and we all need to work together to keep it afloat. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all those who are working very hard so the world doesn't sink, and especially all medical personnel and carriers and drivers that do all they can to keep us alive and connected.
My role as an immigrant and as someone who runs a business that is oriented from Japan to the world, my role is also to communicate about the situation in Japan.
Although we do not know to what extent Japan might have tried to diminish the numbers, we now know (April 7th) that Japan has over 3400 active cases, 92 deaths, 79 in critical conditions, for only 46000 tests done.
Japan has done a fairly good job at slowing down the pandemic and Japan kept control much longer than many other countries, very likely because of cultural elements such as the fact that "social distancing" is a cultural norm that is an essential part of the Japanese culture. But the numbers have spoken, Japan is losing control and politicians have acknowledged that fact by declaring the state of emergency in 7 prefectures, including Tokyo.
The state of emergency is not what it might sound to your Westerners ears. Japan has no legal means to confine people home, the best that politicians can do is to request people to follow the rules. The state of emergency allows local governments to shut down schools, public facilities, private facilities that welcome large numbers of people, and also to take control of private facilities (such as hotels, to increase hospitals capacities).
As of today, there are no clear guidelines or recommendations for businesses such as Seido.
As a Budoka and as a business owner, my role is, at the very least, to lead by example. Seido has been taking measures for almost a month now. We have reduced working hours, and implemented various countermeasures and on a personal level, I haven't set foot in a store for more than a month. But it is time to step measures up, so, as of today, and following the declaration of state of emergency in Japan, I have decided the following:
- Seido's office will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our staff will work from home and handle all email inquiries, order tracking, order management, etc., as usual.
- Seido will be open but work on a special schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. To avoid crowded trains, working hours are set from 10 am to 5 pm but part of the staff is encouraged to leave early if possible.
- Non-essential staff is in partial unemployment with the guarantee of receiving 90% of their salary.
- We will be in close contact with all our partners and especially the craftsmen, ready to help as much as we can if necessary (as we did last week with our Hakama workshop).
Seido will not only follow government guidelines but will go even further by implementing measures that have been taken by European countries as much as humanly possible.
Seido is a business, with bills and salaries to pay, and at the moment, the government has not announced specific measures that would prevent us from going bankrupt if we were to completely close for a few weeks.
For this reason, and because I have the responsibility of the people working at Seido, I must do everything in my power to do the impossible: run the company while protecting the people. Very fortunately, Seido's team is composed of smart, compassionate and hardworking people. Everyone is completely dedicated to do everything it takes to keep the situation under control.
Your orders might be delayed, our support may be slightly slowed down, but be sure that we are here! We are here for Seido, we are here for the community, and we are here for Japan! Please be here for us. If you can order, please do so. We'll need a minimum income to survive, and we're counting on those who can. If you can't, don't.
Seido will lead by example. Our team will lead by example, working tirelessly on raising awareness on the situation, telling people around us that if there is no legal order to stay home, they must do so in order to avoid a situation that would lead to dozens of thousands of deaths.
We have spent the past 10 years with the practitioners, both on and off the mat, and we hope to still be at your side for the next decade, after we have successfully overcome this crisis together.
Take care of yourself and your relatives, stay safe!