For Japan, one of the most powerful economies of the planet, the lockdown is a very unwanted period of time. The government prepares to ease the restrictions in some parts of the country, a growing number of the Japanese businesses are planning to resume operations despite concerns that isolation guidelines were being lifted too early.
While the world is making the first steps on restarting the economies, Japanese business is waiting for a decision of Cabinet on relaxing the restrictions, too.
On Friday, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said that the government was looking at ways to bring some parts of Japan out of lockdown measures as the rate of infections has slowed in several outlying regions.
“The number of new infections of the coronavirus is significantly falling,” the minister told reporters. “There are more prefectures with no new coronavirus cases, so lifting the state of emergency is within sight.”
In fact, Japan this week extended its nationwide state of emergency but said it would reassess the situation on May 14 and possibly lift the measures earlier for some prefectures.
As Reuters reports, after lockdown measures led to a record contraction of Japan’s services sector last month, businesses including cafes, bars and sports clubs have been resuming operations even as the coronavirus epidemic has sapped demand.
Despite the upcoming relaxation of restrictions, Tokyo Disneyland operator Oriental Land on Friday said that the park, one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, prefers to remain closed through May. The health issue is above all, indeed.
Japan has to make the hardest ever choice
As of Friday, 27 of Japan’s 47 prefectures have lifted some or all requests for residents to remain indoors as much as possible, or are planning to do so in the coming days.
Businesses were permitted to reopen in Iwate Prefecture in the country’s northeast, which has yet to report any infections, but some local shop owners were wary of resuming normal operations.
Across the capital of the prefecture, sports clubs and karaoke bars were opening for the first time in weeks. However, the residents hope for normalizing of daily life and restarting the economy.