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Five more snapshots of Japan’s new normal in the coronavirus pandemic:

  • With their wide, open spaces, large parks in Tokyo have become crowded with people hanging out under the sun, something that is likely to increase during the upcoming Golden Week holidays. But they are not without their dangers, Eriko Yamakuma reports.
  • Hand driers are back! Business lobby Keidanren is lifting the ban it introduced on their use in restrooms at offices and factories, after concluding the risk of hand driers spreading the coronavirus is negligible.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association, which manages Yoyogi Park and other city-run parks, says more people are visiting the capital’s green spaces. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
The Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association, which manages Yoyogi Park and other city-run parks, says more people are visiting the capital’s green spaces. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
  • Horse racing is booming across Japan, with proceeds hitting record levels due to the growth of online betting amid the pandemic. Profits are also lining the coffers of regional governments through added tax revenue.
  • Sales of life insurance products related to the coronavirus are surging amid concerns over the financial damage that people may suffer if they get infected. One popular policy pays up to ¥400,000 in a lump sum if holders are diagnosed with the virus.
  • And finally, take five for peace of mind: Japanese researchers have developed a technology that can detect the novel coronavirus within five minutes, the fastest in the world. But don’t hold your breath — it may be a while before it goes commercial.

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