On a warm June evening, a 20-something bartender donned a hoodie and walked to a bar on an upper floor of an unlit building on a small side street in western Tokyo.

“I kind of got my head down, trying to look as least suspicious as possible,” he says, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his identity and employment status. According to restrictions imposed by authorities, bars were asked not to sell alcohol and to close shop at 8 p.m. — he shouldn’t have been able to visit any bar.

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