Photo/IllutrationCoin-operated lockers at JR Osaka Station are made unavailable June 24 due to tightened security measures ahead of the G-20 summit.(Tatsuo Kanai)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

OSAKA--No coin lockers, no trash cans, no garbage collection and delayed deliveries. The inconveniences to daily life are piling up as the city prepares to host the Group of 20 summit four days from now.

City residents and visitors alike are feeling the effects of tightened security precautions ahead of the arrival of world leaders. The measures will remain in place until after the dignitaries have gone.

A Chinese woman lugging a heavy suitcase was dismayed when she spotted a poster early on June 24 bearing the following announcement: “Coin lockers and trash cans will not be available during the G-20 Osaka Summit.”

The posters are plastered across JR Osaka Station in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

“I knew that the G-20 summit would be held here but it didn’t occur to me that coin-operated lockers would not be available,” said the 30-year-old woman who is visiting Japan with friends.

Another Chinese woman, who is two years younger, said wryly, “I chose a bad time to come to Osaka.”

The transportation hub, used by about 870,000 people daily, has around 2,000 coin-operated lockers and 60 or so trash cans. They were all rendered inoperable from early June 24 as part of measures to thwart terrorist attacks in public places.

Other key stations in the Kansai region, such as Kyoto and Kobe, are taking similar steps for the duration of the two-day summit that starts June 28. The restrictions were announced by 10 or so private railway operators and two city subway authorities. The measures will remain in effect until June 29.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) will close coin-operated lockers for Shinkansen passengers at Tokyo, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto stations, in sequence, starting from June 25 through June 29.

Such stringent security measures have not been taken at Shinkansen stations since the G-7 Ise-Shima summit was held in Mie Prefecture in May 2016.

According to West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), only big Shinkansen stations and other train stops used by 100,000 or more people a day were asked to take such measures during the G-7 summit.

“It's the biggest security operation to be mounted in years,” said a JR West official of the G-20 preparations.

Traffic restrictions during the duration of the event are also taking their toll.

To guard against adding to congestion, Osaka city government will not collect recyclable garbage, plastic waste and bulk trash that needs to be transported outside the city between June 27 and June 29.

City authorities also asked residents to put out general refuse, used paper products and clothes items before 8 a.m., an hour earlier than the regular collection time.

Nippon Express requested customers in Osaka Prefecture and some areas of Hyogo Prefecture to change prebooked days for moving between June 27 and June 30 to either before or after the G-20 summit.

The company made the decision in light of anticipated delays in traffic.

Mail and parcel delivery services are also affected.

Sagawa Express Co. will not allow customers to designate the date and time of deliveries in Osaka between June 27 and June 30.

Yamato Transport Co. will adopt a similar approach in Osaka Prefecture and some parts of Hyogo Prefecture, starting from June 27 through July 2.

Japan Post Co. predicts mail and package deliveries, either sent from or addressed to the Kinki region, will be delayed by one or two days between June 27 and June 30.

With the summer gift-giving season now in full swing, leading department stores like Daimaru Umeda decided not to allow customers to designation the date and time of deliveries, starting from June 26 through July 5.

“I don’t think there will be major confusion, except that delivery times will be affected for a few days,” said a department store representative.

Fearing the prospect of gridlock, convenience stores are also tweaking delivery times so they can operate as efficiently as possible during the summit.

Stores operated by Seven-Eleven Japan Co. in some parts of Kinki region will receive fewer truck deliveries between June 27 and June 30. This will be offset by heavier loads.

Lawson will adopt similar steps in limited areas.

FamilyMart Co. was among convenience store operators that said it was unlikely outlets would run short of items during the summit.

(This article was written by Hiroya Furuta, Mayo Tomioka, Takashi Narazaki, Hiroki Hashimoto and Junichi Kamiyama.)