April 8, 2020
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Group Response to COVID-19 State of Emergency in Japan & Global Initiatives

Tokyo, April 8, 2020 - In response to the state of emergency declared by the government of Japan in line with the special measures act regarding COVID-19, Rakuten, Inc. announced that it would further strengthen the measures being taken against the spread of the virus by Rakuten Group companies, both in Japan and around the world.

In order to support efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Rakuten has both implemented internal measures across the Group and is working to raise awareness of the importance of social distancing and other initiatives. Rakuten is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities as a provider of social infrastructure and will continue to consider and implement further measures in order to contribute to the health, well-being and daily lives of its customers, partners and employees.

1. Measures implemented by the Rakuten Group to address the COVID-19 pandemic (Japan)

The Rakuten Group has established a COVID-19 taskforce led by the COO of Rakuten, Inc., and has implemented measures such as teleworking and staggered working hours. In accordance with the state of emergency declaration, the company will implement and reinforce the following measures as general rules.

- All employees must work from home. (Applies to full-time employees, contract employees, subcontractors and part-time employees)
- Rakuten Group companies are not permitted to host any events, and must refrain from participating in events held by third parties.
- Guests are not permitted to visit Rakuten Group company locations.
- All staff training, recruiting interviews, internal and external meetings must be conducted via videoconferencing.
- Non-essential international and domestic business trips are not permitted.
- Companies with employees that must be physically present in order to do their job are required to implement body temperature checks when entering the building, hand washing, gargling, wearing masks at all times, and ventilating indoor spaces, in addition to each employee closely monitoring their personal health condition.
- Adherence to guidance from prefectures under state of emergency declarations to refrain from going out.

2. COVID-19-related measures and initiatives taken by Rakuten Group companies in Japan (as of April 8, 2020) (Announcements only available in Japanese.)

Rakuten Group
Social Distancing initiative

Rakuten Ichiba (marketplace)
Announcement regarding the effects of COVID-19 countermeasures (shipping delays, etc.)

Emergency initiative related to COVID-19: Support merchants and the food retail industry by eating delicious food from across Japan

Rakuten Travel
List of measures in place due to spread of COVID-19
Sending payment for domestic travel accommodation services 1 week in advance
External link: https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000223.000021228.html

Rakuten Mobile
Temporary closing of Rakuten Mobile shops across Japan
Extension of payment period for services delivered due to the spread of COVID-19

Rakuten Super English
Rakuten ABCmouse English Learning Academy for Children offered to businesses for free for a limited time
* Free period extended to May 31, 2020

Sports Business
Empower Japan message video
External link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETCe2DZvJiA&feature=youtu.be

Rakuten Card
Launched contact center service for customers affected by the spread of COVID-19

Rakuten Securities
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 state of emergency declaration

Rakuten Pay (app-based payments)
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 measures

Rakuten Pay (in-store payments)
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 measures

Rakuten Edy
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 measures

Rakuten Pet Insurance
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 measures
Announcement regarding the handling of regular hospital visits due to the spread of COVID-19 (period extension)
Announcement regarding the handling of insurance payments due to the spread of COVID-19

Rakuten General Insurance
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 preventative measures
Special measures for customers affected by the spread of COVID-19

Rakuten Life Insurance
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 measures
Announcement regarding the handling of insurance payments due to COVID-19
To Rakuten Life Insurance Customers: Consultation services related to COVID-19 provided by Rakuten Life Insurance medical support services
Announcement regarding the handling of insurance payments, benefits and mutual aid due to the spread of COVID-19

Rakuten Insurance Planning
Announcement regarding changes to customer service operations due to COVID-19 preventative measures
Special measures for insurance companies related to the spread of COVID-19

3. COVID-19-related measures and initiatives implemented by Rakuten Group companies around the world (as of April 8, 2020)

Rakuten Viber 
Partnered with the World Health Organization to launch a chatbot that offers verified and reliable information about the spread of COVID-19 in multiple languages, currently with over 2.4 million users subscribed. Rakuten Viber is also supporting government health institutions in 11 countries to open their own official communities on Viber and provide real-time updates and approved information to over 10 million members already following these communities. The company also increased the number of participants in free audio group calls to 20.

Rakuten Kobo 
Launched the #StayHomeandRead campaign in more than 27 countries in North America, the EU, Asia and more, working with publishers and governments to offer people a wide assortment of books from free to deeply discounted in order to encourage people to stay in. In the last 30-days Kobo has given away more than 10 million books worldwide.

Rakuten Rewards 
Ran a campaign in March in support of small businesses and members by giving them more Cash Back when they need it most. This campaign resulted in a 100% lift in shopping trips to these small businesses and a 46% increase in sales for them.

Rakuten TV
Rakuten TV has added over 100 movies to its video streaming platform available to be viewed free of charge in a number of European countries impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown. The platform has also put in place a number of partnerships to provide movies from top industry brands, and provide high-profile movies through video on demand during the theatrical release. The company also took part in a CSR activity with one of the main hospitals in Barcelona, donating tablets and movies to patients who cannot see their relatives due to COVID-19 medical quarantine.

Rakuten Advertising 
Launched a COVID-19 Resource Center with updates for its retailer and publishing partners based on the company’s data and insights.

Rakuten France marketplace
Offering to waive service fees and give access to lowest commission rates for retailers impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as holding special accelerated training webinars for these new merchants to help them use the platform. The company is also giving away one Rakuten TV voucher, allowing access to premium movies, for every purchase made on the platform.

Rakuten Germany marketplace
Offering new merchants a zero-cost subscription fee for the first year for merchants with offline stores or for those impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Rakuten Super Logistics (U.S.) 
Partnering with beverage maker DEFY to provide 50,000 bottles of its hydrating beverages to Feeding America for redistribution to first responders. Rakuten Super Logistics is providing fulfillment, distribution and storage.


*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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