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Now that the government is urging consumers and businesses to step up efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, shoppers may finally have no excuse but to embrace e-commerce and wean themselves from brick-and-mortar stores.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and other metropolitan areas earlier this week. In response, Uniqlo clothing owner Fast Retailing Co., department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. and other retailers are temporarily closing shops or cutting hours, while grocers and other essential services will remain open.

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