THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
April 7, 2020 at 16:50 JST
Shops at the Sunshine City building in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward are closed over the weekend following the governor’s request for residents to refrain from nonessential outings. (Reina Kitamura)
Providers of products and services deemed essential for daily life plan to stay open during the state of emergency over the novel coronavirus outbreak, but some could curtail their operations.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to declare the state of emergency on April 7 for Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.
Governors are then expected to ask certain businesses and facilities to close down for the period, but places that provide food, medicine and other essential items and services will likely remain open.
Seven & i Holdings Co., which operates the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, said it will keep its stores open as much as possible. Lawson Inc., another leading convenience store chain, intends to do the same, saying its stores serve as necessary infrastructure for local communities.
However, some convenience stores may shorten their operating hours or close temporarily, depending on requests from the store managers.
Major supermarket chain operators also plan to keep their stores open for business after the state of emergency is declared.
Seiyu GK said it will continue operating as much as possible while securing stable supply chains. Ito-Yokado Co. said all of its supermarkets will operate as much as possible under the state of emergency.
Other businesses, including hotels and restaurants, will likely be partially or completely closed after the state of emergency is declared.
The Tokyo metropolitan government, for example, has already placed department stores on the list of facilities that will be asked to shut down.
Department stores have closed their doors on weekends in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but they will likely be shut down on weekdays as well.
Some department stores, however, may keep their basement food floors open on the request of municipalities.
Hotels and ryokan inns with total floor spaces exceeding 1,000 square meters may be asked to limit the use of their banquet halls and other areas. A source at a major hotel operator said the company will follow the instructions of the government.
In the restaurant industry, pubs run by the Kushikatsu Tanaka “izakaya” chain were initially scheduled to be closed between April 4 and 12, but the operator plans to extend the period in accordance with the declaration of the state of emergency.
Skylark Holdings Co., operator of major family restaurant chain Gusto, and Sukiya, a leading beef bowl restaurant chain, are considering shortening operating hours at outlets in areas covered by the state of emergency.
Demae-can Co., which provides food delivery services, will keep operating its directly managed delivery hubs. Uber Eats plans to continue deliveries, but that may change depending on the contents of the declaration.
Rakuten Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. will continue their online shopping services as usual.
However, a Rakuten public relations official said there could be delays in receiving items ordered from its online shopping mall. The official also said the company expects the state of emergency to affect its logistics.
Three megabanks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Bank Ltd., will, in principle, continue operations at all of their branches.
But they may reduce the number of service counters available, depending on how the situation develops, a public relations official of MUFG said.
Japan Railway companies share the basic view that they should avoid reducing the number of train services as much as possible.
An official of East Japan Railway Co. said the company is unlikely to suspend all train services because a certain number of trains must be running to keep cities functioning.
This special page portrays the dramatic arrest of Carlos Ghosn and the twists and turns that followed.
This special page reviews what the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman left during his 19 years in Japan.
Baseball star Ichiro Suzuki had much to say on March 21, the day he hung up his spikes.
This special page details how journalists uncovered shady transactions through Bermuda and other tax havens.
Here are reports about efforts in Japan and abroad to achieve the U.N. sustainable development goals.