Nissan Motor said it would shut its global headquarters in Japan for 16 days until early May to contain the spread of the coronavirus, even though the government has permitted keeping workplaces open to get the economy running.

Reuters noted prime minister Shinzo Abe had allowed manufacturing plants to keep operating under a state of emergency that was declared this month and broadened last week but Nissan and its rivals had already suspended output at many of their factories due to plummeting global demand.

Nissan told the news agency 15,000 employees at its headquarters in Yokohama and main research and development centre in nearby Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, would be required to take leave for 16 days from next Monday and for Japan's 'Golden Week' holiday which starts on 4 May.

Its headquarters would be closed to all but essential workers, a Nissan spokeswoman told Reuters, adding those affected would receive "the majority" of their full salaries during the period.

She added the measures were aimed at keeping more than 90% of the employees away from its offices, up from 80% at the moment.