06/19/2020, 12.49
JAPAN
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Tokyo lifts restrictions on travel and entertainment as COVID-19 is under control

Travel to and from the prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and in Hokkaido is now cautiously possible. Restrictions on bars, nightclubs, exhibitions, and concerts have been lifted.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The Japanese government this morning lifted the last restrictions on travel and entertainment establishments put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic. It hopes that this will revive the country's economy, which has been badly affected by the lockdown.

Although the state of emergency ended on 25 May, some restrictions were left in place. On 1 June, travel restrictions were lifted, except for five prefectures: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Hokkaido.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the move last night. “We will get the economy running again while taking every precaution against a further rise in infections,” he said.

As of today, people can travel anywhere in the country. However, the authorities recommend travelling only if really necessary to and from the five aforementioned prefectures.

Conversely, exhibitions, concerts and other events with a capacity for up to 1,000 people are now possible starting today. Large-scale events, such as professional sports activities can be held but without spectators.

Host and hostess clubs, bars, nightclubs and other similar establishments, as well as live music houses, will also be allowed to reopen as long as they comply with guidelines and other conditions.

Restrictions have been lifted even though dozens of new infections are still being reported in the capital, 35 today alone.

Japan’s first coronavirus cases date back last January. In late February, all schools were closed. in April, some prefectures, including Tokyo, were placed under a month-long lockdown.

Subsequently, a state of emergency was declared for the whole country. So far, Japan has had 17,382 positive cases with 924 deaths.

As a result of the pandemic, Japan’s growth domestic product (GDP) dropped by 3.4 per cent in the first three months of 2020. This follows a 6.4 per cent decline in the last quarter of 2019, pushing Japan into a technical recession.

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