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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Tokyo’s Next Step in Opening

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
People walk through a shopping arcade near Sensoji Temple in Tokyo Friday, June 12, 2020.

The most heavily populated urban area in the world is lifting restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is the first day that Tokyo will move to a new phase of reopening.


Public events of up to a thousand people are now allowed in Tokyo.

Restaurants can stay open until midnight, and most bars and even pachinko parlors are cleared for business.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koise said Thursday that "It will be a long time until treatment or vaccination is available, so we must learn to live with the coronavirus and maintain the necessary precautions to prevent a second wave."

She also said she'll think about requesting businesses to close again if the average new cases per week rise above 50 — or if more than half the cases are untraceable, or if the number of new infections doubles in a week.

Tokyo has had more than 5,400 cases, about 30% of Japan's total, along with more than 300 deaths.

A national news wire is also reporting Japan is considering allowing business travelers from four countries later this summer, with an overall limit of 250 a day. Kyodo News reports the countries involved include: Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report quotes "government sources" as saying a task force on the response to the coronavirus is expected to finalize details of the plan "soon."

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