Tokyo to ask restaurants to close early as cases hit new daily high
Nikkei -- Jul 30
Tokyo is set to request restaurants, bars and karaoke parlors to reduce operating hours as coronavirus cases in Japan's capital hit a new daily high.

The metropolitan government will ask establishments to close by 10 p.m. from Aug. 3 to the end of the month, Nikkei has learned. Those who comply will be eligible for a subsidy of 200,000 yen ($1,900).

In Japan, governments cannot legally mandate that businesses close down or shorten their hours.

The move comes as Tokyo confirmed 367 new cases on Thursday, Nikkei reported. People in their 20s and 30s account for about 60% of infections, but the proportion of higher risk people aged 40 or older is increasing.

Gov. Yuriko Koike and other officials have called upon people to refrain from nonessential trips but have still struggled to control the virus.

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday, Koike said asking restaurants and shops to close will be a "huge burden" for Tokyo's finances.

Subsidies to shop owners have been a financial drain on the metropolitan government that had already spent around 95% of its 935 billion yen ($8.9 billion) reserves set aside for emergencies.

Tokyo is not the only Japanese city suffering from the virus's resurgence since a nationwide state of emergency was lifted on May 25.

On Wednesday, the nation of about 126 million reported over 1,000 new daily coronavirus infections for the first time. Osaka reported 221 cases, and Aichi Prefecture, which includes Nagoya, posted 167 -- both new highs.

News source: Nikkei
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