Where 'nomad workers' work in Japan

By Asako Takaguchi, Kyodo

Posted at Sep 29 2013 09:12 AM | Updated as of Sep 29 2013 05:12 PM

Office workers walk inside a building in Tokyo September 26, 2013. Photo by Issei Kato, Reuters

TOKYO - Cafe chains and hotels are adapting to a growing population of "nomad workers" who use mobile telecommunications technologies to work outside the office.

A coffee shop near the busy Shinjuku train station in Tokyo is well known among teleworkers as it has some 20 power outlets on its spacious floor for free use by those needing to use personal computers or charge mobile phones.

The coffee shop belongs to the Renoir chain operated by Ginza Renoir Co., which began increasing power outlets for free use a decade ago at almost all of its cafes in Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures. Wi-Fi wireless Internet access is also available free of charge.

Women and students are also increasingly settling in at Renoir cafes to use mobile devices, a spokesperson for the company said.

Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo's Minato Ward created a business lounge for nomad workers at its N Tower building when it was refurbished for reopening in late March.

The lounge has desks partitioned from each other and allows guests to use power outlets and Wi-Fi at no cost. Free beverages are also available.

The lounge is designed to "make (businesspeople) feel relaxed so that they can think of new ideas for their work," Kiyoshi Mochizuki, general manager of the hotel, said. "We expect them to use it as their office in Tokyo" when they visit the capital for work.

A guest who used the lounge said there was "a sense of fun there" and that he was able to "work comfortably."

Currently only hotel guests can use the lounge, but the hotel will consider opening the lounge to a wider range of users in the future, according to Mochizuki.

Businesspeople, who travel extensively, rely on the "Dengen Cafe" website listing a total of some 1,700 restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores and other locations with free power outlets for use by nomad workers in 37 prefectures from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

The site also includes information on whether locations under review have smoking sections and offer free Wi-Fi.

The website is accessed some 150,000 times on average per month.