As anticipated, the Japanese government on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Tokyo due to th resurgent coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide made the announcement at an evening press conference., explaining that the decree applies in the Japanese capital and the three neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa for a period of one month, starting on Jan. 8.
This is the second state of emergency declaration since the first in early April that applied to the entire country and lasted until late May.
Instead of blanket closures, businesses ranging from department stores to restaurants, bars and movie theaters are called on to reduce their opening hours, and shut doors by 8:00 pm. Compliance is voluntary due to restrictions on stricter measures in the Japanese constitution, but most businesses are expected to join in.
Toho Cinema and other major exhibitors have already announced that, starting on Friday, they will sell only same-day tickets. They have yet to officially announce shorter hours.
In recent weeks, the number of coronavirus infections in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures has soared, hitting a daily record of 2,447 for Tokyo alone.
At a press event today for the Shochiku-distributed psycho-horror film “The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window” star Okada Masaki said: “Given this situation I can’t tell people to definitely come and see the film in a theater.” Shot in January of last year, the film will open on Jan. 22.