It was April 16, the day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded the state of emergency to cover the entire nation to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Eight tough-looking men wearing Toyota Motor Corp. uniforms drove up to Funahashi Co., a small maker of raincoats in Nagoya.

“They really came! They look like the Avengers,” said Manami Otani, 24, a Funahashi employee, likening them to superheroes.