Photo/Illutration On April 19, the first Sunday after the state of emergency was expanded nationwide, many stores were shuttered at an underground shopping mall in central Nagoya. (Masaki Yamamoto)

Projected pedestrian traffic in areas surrounding key rail and tourist hubs Nagoya, Kyoto and Sapporo stations was down by 30 to 40 percent on April 18 compared with one week ago, a clear sign that people are taking the nation's state of emergency to heart--but not enough.

April 18 marked the first weekend since the state of emergency was expanded nationwide in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The flow of pedestrian traffic was based on position data on smartphones used by the travelling public and compiled by IT companies.

Compared with January and February before the coronavirus scourge took off, the reduction rates of pedestrians around major stations differed, depending on cities.

The Asahi Shimbun compared the tally collected from smartphone application users of Agoop Corp., an affiliate of Softbank Group Corp., with past data.

Projected turnout as of 3 p.m. on April 18 in areas within a 500-meter radius of each station was compared with one week ago. 

Pedestrian traffic around Sapporo Station was down 34.7 percent, while Sakae Station in Nagoya recorded a 43.3 percent decrease. Kyoto station marked a 33.9 percent drop.

In Tokyo and six other prefectures where the state of emergency first applied, normally teeming Shinjuku, Ginza and Yokohama stations saw decreases of 24.3 percent, 13.4 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively.

NTT Docomo Inc. projected turnout in areas measuring 500 meters by 500 meters, including each rail hub, based on data from smartphone base stations.

The April 18 data as of 3 p.m. was compared with results obtained on weekends in January and February.

Pedestrian volume in many areas of Tokyo and the six other prefectures fell significantly. Traffic was down 80.2 percent around Shinjuku Station, one of Tokyo's busiest, and 84.1 percent around Umeda Station in Osaka.

In areas where the state of emergency was expanded, the reduction rate proved to be smaller and more varied. Pedestrian traffic was down 15.5 around Maebashi Station, 69.4 percent around Kanazawa Station and 33.9 percent around Hiroshima Station.

Other reduction rates are as follows: Sapporo Station (55.7 percent); Sendai Station (61.1 percent); Yokohama Station (77.5 percent); Nagoya Station (73 percent); Otsu Station (15.8 percent); Kyoto Station (70.3 percent); Sannomiya Station in Kobe (66.3 percent); Nara Station (25.1 percent); Matsuyama Station (24.6 percent); and Tenjin Station in Fukuoka (72.1 percent).

The central government has called on the public to reduce person-to-person contact by 70 to 80 percent and to refrain from travelling from metropolitan areas to the countryside to stop the virus from spreading further.