National

More people visiting Japan's urban areas, data shows

JIJI

More people visited urban areas Saturday in five prefectures including Tokyo than a week before, as the areas entered the first weekend since the nationwide coronavirus emergency was completely lifted, data has suggested.

The number of people in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district at 3 p.m. was 30.7 percent below the average on weekends and holidays between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14 before COVID-19 cases spiked in Japan, according to the data collected by NTT Docomo Inc.

The rate of decrease shrank by a whopping 30.0 percentage points from a week before, showing recovery in the number of people visiting the major shopping district, the data, collected via the mobile carrier’s base stations, showed.

Compared with the period before the spike in cases, the number of people was also down 45.4 percent at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station; 36.7 percent at Yokohama Station in Kanagawa Prefecture; 48.9 percent at the western side of Omiya Station in Saitama Prefecture; 18.8 percent at Chiba Station in Chiba Prefecture; and 58.2 percent at Sapporo Station in Hokkaido.

All of these places saw their rates of decrease shrink by 10 to 20 points from a week before.

Japan lifted the nationwide emergency in its entirety on May 25 by rescinding the declaration in the five prefectures, which also included Hokkaido, as well as Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures.

Meanwhile, the number of people visiting the downtown area in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture — where fears have grown of a second wave of coronavirus infections — also saw a bigger decrease than a week prior.

At Kokura Station in Kitakyushu, the number was down 50.8 percent from the level before the spike, far bigger than a 39.1 percent drop seen a week earlier.

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