• Jiji


Some theaters and theme parks in Tokyo have begun to open conditionally in the past week while taking thorough measures to prevent coronavirus infections while under the government’s extended third state of emergency over the pandemic.

The state of emergency for Tokyo and the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo was initially set to expire on Tuesday. It was extended, however, and the central prefecture of Aichi and the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka were added to the list on Wednesday. The emergency, now covering the six prefectures, is slated to run until May 31.

Among the facilities that reopened last week was the New National Theatre, Tokyo, in Shibuya Ward. A 47-year-old woman from the city of Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, who came to the theater by herself to enjoy a play, said: “I’m glad that the play will be performed. I will return home after watching it silently.”

Yukie Takahama, 70, from Yokohama, questioned the continuing closure requests for museums, saying that theaters and museums are the same in that those attending are silent. “Authorities drew the line in the wrong way,” she said.

Hanayashiki, a theme park in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, resumed operations for the first time in 18 days. Sales of alcoholic beverages are banned at the park, though, and visitors were asked not to bring in such drinks. Hanayashiki staff also called on visitors to wear face masks properly.

A 31-year-old corporate worker from Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, who visited Hanayashiki with a 2-year-old boy, said that he came to the theme park for the first time in two months. “I finally made it,” he said with a smile.

A department store in Nagoya, meanwhile, was crowded with shoppers.

Takako Aikawa, an 86-year-old woman from the city, came to the store for ready-made meals and other items.

“Shopping at a department store is fun. There are things that you can’t buy elsewhere,” she said, welcoming the store remaining open even under the state of emergency.

“The number of infection cases has not dropped (over the past year),” Shiro Kitamura, 79, also from Nagoya, who visited the department store to purchase items needed for repairing his house, said.

In Fukuoka Prefecture, restaurants, bars and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages and karaoke services are being asked to close under the state of emergency. Nakasu, the biggest entertainment district in the prefecture, was quiet on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old manager of an izakaya pub in Nakasu turned away a customer who came to drink. It was the first time for the izakaya not to serve alcohol. “This is just money-losing,” the manager said.

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