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Little change was seen in the flow of commuters at major train stations in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures Friday morning as a fresh state of emergency came into effect in the metropolitan area to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The situation was in stark contrast to last April, when stations were nearly empty as a coronavirus state of emergency was imposed for the first time in Japan.

At Shinagawa Station in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, rows of commuters were passing through ticket gates around 8 a.m.

A 56-year-old employee from Yokohama said she will shift to telework next week. She said teleworking can be inconvenient by making communication with colleagues difficult, for example.

At the same time, she said: “It’s natural that a state of emergency has been put in place because the number of coronavirus cases is growing. The measure should have come much earlier.”

A 49-year-old government worker from Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward said trains on the Yamanote Line, which he takes on his commute, were as busy as they had been in recent days.

“How things are next week is important,” he said. “We have to brace ourselves again (for the emergency).”

At Omiya Station in the city of Saitama, lines of commuters passed through ticket gates every time a train arrived.

With the state of emergency in place, “I will skip nonessential outings,” said a government worker in his 20s.

“But my work and private life won’t change much,” the resident of the city said. “People around me seem to be like that, too.”

People head home at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo on Friday night. | KYODO
People head home at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo on Friday night. | KYODO
Normally bustling with rowdy crowds, the restaurants under Miyashita Park in Shibuya Ward were closed early on Friday evening amid a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Normally bustling with rowdy crowds, the restaurants under Miyashita Park in Shibuya Ward were closed early on Friday evening amid a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

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