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World In Tokyo's lockdown, some drink on even after authorities call time

07:05  17 january  2021
07:05  17 january  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo, paying price for coronavirus complacency

  Japan declares state of emergency in Tokyo, paying price for coronavirus complacency Leaders believed the country could co-exist with the virus and keep the economy open, but as cases surge, the limits of that approach are all too apparent. On Thursday, with the limits of that approach becoming clear as the country’s outbreak spirals out of control, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reluctantly declared a state of emergency in the Tokyo area.

TOKYO (Reuters) - For Yuuki Hamazono, it was a relief to find bars and restaurants in Tokyo flouting the Japanese government’ s request to close by 8 p.m. People drink by the table outside a bar which opens after 8 PM, the time the government asks restaurants and bars to close by, amid the

TOKYO (Reuters) - For Yuuki Hamazono, it was a relief to find bars and restaurants in Tokyo flouting the Japanese government' s request to close by 8 p.m. The government is considering an amendment to give authorities more power to enforce a lockdown , the minister in charge of administrative and

By Irene Wang and Daniel Leussink

a group of people walking on a city street at night: Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo © Reuters/KIM KYUNG-HOON Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - For Yuuki Hamazono, it was a relief to find bars and restaurants in Tokyo flouting the Japanese government's request to close by 8 p.m.

The 30-year-old financial trader was one of many people out in the Shimbashi nightlife district during the first weekend of an expanded state of emergency, with the government pleading for residents to stay home to contain the coronavirus.

a person is walking down the street: Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo © Reuters/KIM KYUNG-HOON Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo

Prime Minister Yoshihide declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures this month. He expanded it to 11 prefectures accounting for 55% of the population on Wednesday. Unlike in many other countries with mandatory lockdowns, Japanese authorities legally can only urge people to stay at home and businesses to close.

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How has Covid-19 affected Tokyo and Japan? To be honest, it hasn’t been the happiest or most relaxing time . Nevertheless, we’re doing our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus by spending time inside . Whether you’re just passing through Japan, or living here for the long

Some believe it came from the Wuhan Virology Institute, where they also work on weaponizing coronaviruses. 18. Worldwide Lockdown Predicted In 2008. ‘ Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified.’

a group of people riding bikes on a city street: Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo © Reuters/KIM KYUNG-HOON Restaurants found flouting Japan's COVID-19 emergency decree in Tokyo

While compliance has been high - most of Shimbashi's karaoke bars and izakaya taverns were closed on Friday night - more people appear to be ignoring the state of emergency this time than one last year.

"There are people who can't have dinner until after 8 p.m., including me," Hamazono said, citing his working hours. He and a friend were looking for a place to duck into among a jumble of izakayas on Shimbashi's narrow streets.

Nearby, touts called out on the street, advertising places that were still open.

Authorities have worried about the potential spread of infection at bars and restaurants. In Shimbashi, many drinking spots are cramped and with poor ventilation.

Japan Set to Expand Emergency as Authorities Call for Restraint

  Japan Set to Expand Emergency as Authorities Call for Restraint Japanese ministers pleaded for people to restrict their movements during the daytime, with the country set to expand the area under the coronavirus state of emergency beyond the Tokyo area. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he was considering a request from three prefectures in the Kansai region in western Japan to declare a state of emergency. Several other regions have either asked for an emergency or are considering doing so. Together with Tokyo and three nearby prefectures, that represents more than half the nation’s economy.

Japan' s lax state of emergency measures have partially reduced crowds, but with no lockdown and cases on the rise, they may fall short of containing the spread of the coronavirus and flattening the curve.

The latter is often called a lockdown . Even in cities where authorities have issued recommendations on social distancing and refrained from imposing strict lockdowns , it In Tokyo there hasn't been an official lockdown yet, but schools have been shut since the beginning of March.

The government has offered subsidies to establishments that close on time, but some say it's not enough, and worry about losing customers.

"Though there are subsidies, for restaurants and bars the relations of trust are important," said Yuji Tobe, a 34-year-old barman in a standing-only drinking spot, where wooden tabletops rest on stacks of plastic crates.

"We have a bond with our customers."

Tobe's bar was nominally closed, although two regulars were still being served.

Some criticise what they call a half-hearted government response. Suga has been accused of being slow to act out of fear of damaging the economy. His support has plunged.

"It's unclear whether getting the economy going or stopping corona comes first," said a man who gave his name only as Kazumasa. He was queuing for one the restaurants under the train tracks serving yakitori, skewers of grilled chicken.

The government is considering an amendment to give authorities more power to enforce a lockdown, the minister in charge of administrative and regulatory reform, Taro Kono, told Reuters on Thursday.

Until then, it seems likely that many will keep drinking.

"There are many times we need to talk business over drinks. That kind of communication is necessary to do business," said 48-year-old Motoki Mori, the owner of an event production company who was headed to a bar with his business partner.

"I don't think you can put a cut-off time on that."

(Reporting by Irene Wang, Daniel Leussink and Akira Tomoshige; Editing by David Dolan and William Mallard)

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