Hanami cherry blossom viewing season begins in Japan
soranews24.com -- Mar 23
Questions about complacency are being raised as people gather at popular sakura spots in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Japan shrugs off the cold days of winter, people around the country start thinking about the hanami cherry blossom viewing season, that long-awaited time of year when people gather together under the sakura trees to enjoy parties with friends and work colleagues while getting drunk on beers and the beauty of the blossoms

This year, however, things feel different as Japan — like many other countries around the world right now — struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Unlike a number of countries elsewhere, however, Japan is taking a less drastic approach to containment, choosing to keep things running more or less as usual, with a few exceptions like: restricting arrivals from certain countries; asking schools, large tourist sites and events to close; making requests for foreign travellers to self-quarantine for 14 days; and advising locals to stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated areas.

Japan’s lenient stance may seem surprising, but it’s in response to the relatively slow rise of cases being recorded in Japan compared to the rest of the world (Japan is the line second from the bottom, in red). Pundits from overseas, however, are concerned that the low numbers being reported are due to the low number of people actually being tested for the virus.

Now that the cherry blossoms have started blooming in Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is asking people to exercise self-restraint when it comes to holding sakura parties in municipally managed parks and riversides during hanami season.

With no penalties in place to ensure people are exercising this self-restraint, however, the sunny springtime weather and the call of the blossoms has been strong in some parts of the country, and photos from the weekend show a lot of people out and about ignoring signs asking people to refrain from hanami gatherings.

News source: soranews24.com
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