• Jiji

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East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, said Thursday that it has decided to cancel coronavirus-linked train service reductions planned on some lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area during the morning commuting hours Friday, as the measure is now expected to create crowds.

On some trains, congestion rates exceeded 180% during the commuting hours Thursday, when services were reduced.

In response to requests from authorities, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, for railway operators to scale back services as part of measures against the novel coronavirus, JR East cut the number of trains on seven lines, including the Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku and Chuo lines, by some 20% from regular levels during the morning commuting hours last Friday and Thursday.

On lines including the Yamanote Line, services were reduced also during the afternoon rush hours.

JR East, however, decided to operate trains on the seven lines under regular timetables Friday after the number of users of the Yamanote Line, a busy loop line in Tokyo, on Thursday morning came to 95-100% of the levels on April 26, before the start of the Golden Week holiday period.

Among other train operators in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Seibu Railway Co. put services on its Seibu Shinjuku and Haijima lines back on regular schedules Thursday after service reductions led to crowds being formed.

Since April 25, Tokyo has been under a coronavirus state of emergency, which also covers three western prefectures.

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