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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing Japanese companies to temporarily close offices or suspend production, disrupting businesses in a country that has so far managed to weather the pandemic better than most advanced nations. 

A number of production line shifts were halted by Toyota Motor Corp and Daihatsu Motor Co last week due to employee infections. KFC Holdings Japan Ltd has closed some of its fast-food restaurants and moved staff to fill gaps, while Japan Post Holdings Co has temporarily closed more than 200 mailing centers.

With BA.4 and BA.5 variants dominating around the world, Japan’s COVID cases have surpassed those of other countries. In the past week, the World Health Organization reported more than 1.4 million new COVID cases in Japan.

On Wednesday, Japan reached an all-time high of almost 250,000 newly diagnosed COVID cases. As a result of vaccinations and booster shots, hospitalizations and deaths are also on the rise, but not as dramatically as in previous waves.

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