Photo/Illutration Few pedestrians are visible around the Mitsukoshi department store’s main outlet in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district. The store was closed over the weekend. (Kazuyoshi Sako)

The Tokyo metropolitan government will ask certain facilities, ranging from pachinko parlors to universities, to shut down during the expected state of emergency announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But the request will not extend to infrastructure deemed vital to daily life, such as hospitals and convenience stores.

Facilities that cooperate with the request and suspend operations will receive a subsidy from a fund that will be set up by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

The metropolitan government has classified businesses and facilities in three broad categories regarding how it plans to deal with the coronavirus outbreak

Abe on April 7 is expected to announce a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures that will last until May 6.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike held a news conference on the evening of April 6 and asked residents to refrain from leaving their homes once the state of emergency is declared.

She also called on Tokyo residents not to hoard.

Regarding the new coronavirus infections confirmed in the capital, Koike said, “The numbers continue to trend at high levels and the situation remains pressing.”

She asked for the cooperation of businesses and facilities that will be asked to close.

According to a list compiled by metropolitan government officials, commercial complexes, such as shopping malls, leisure facilities, including bowling alleys and karaoke parlors, and “izakaya” Japanese-style pubs are among the group that will be asked to shut down.

Elementary and junior high schools will, in principle, not be allowed to be used.

However, facilities considered vital infrastructure for the daily lives of Tokyo residents can continue operating if they take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

These facilities include hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets, convenience stores and banks.

Retail outlets will also be asked to take social distancing measures. For example, customers waiting in line should each be about 2 meters apart.

Tokyo metropolitan government officials also said on April 6 that about 100 people in hospitals with minor or no symptoms of the COVID-19 disease will be moved to the Toyoko Inn Tokyo-eki Shin-ohashi Mae hotel in Chuo Ward starting on April 7.

Defense Ministry officials also said that about 10 members of the Self-Defense Forces will be dispatched to the Tokyo hotel in response to a request from Koike on April 6. The SDF members will provide assistance to those infected with the coronavirus who are staying at the hotel.


Facilities that will be asked to suspend operations:

Educational institutions, such as universities, vocational schools and cram schools, gymnasiums, golf driving ranges, sports clubs, theaters, movie theaters, live houses, exhibition halls, museums, libraries, department stores, shopping malls, barber shops, pawn shops, cabarets, night clubs, bars, private video parlors, internet cafes, karaoke parlors, pachinko parlors, video game centers, etc.

Facilities that will be asked to shut down depending on what type they are:

Schools (excluding universities), day care centers, care facilities for elderly people, etc.

Facilities and businesses that will not be asked to close because they are needed to maintain daily life:

Hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies, supermarkets, convenience stores, hotels, bus companies, taxi companies, railway companies, distribution sector, factories, public bathhouses, restaurants (will be asked to shorten business hours at night and on weekends; izakaya pubs will be asked to close), financial institutions and government offices (requests will be made for further efforts to have staff work from home), etc.