Department stores, cinemas in Tokyo metropolitan area to close over weekend

A photo shows Shibuya Crossing in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo on March 27, 2020, amid the outbreak of a new coronavirus CIVID-19. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — Commercial and entertainment facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area have announced plans to curtail operations this weekend in response to a request from the Tokyo metropolitan government and other municipal governments to refrain from going out.

Major department store operator Takashimaya Co. has decided to close its Nihonbashi store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, and its Yokohama store on Saturday and Sunday.

The department store’s Tamagawa store in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, will continue to operate, but with shorter business hours.

Major commercial complexes, such as Shibuya Parco, Ikebukuro Parco and Shibuya 109, decided to close on Saturday and Sunday.

Amusement park operator Seibu Holdings Inc. said it will close Toshimaen amusement park in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, which had reopened on March 21, Seibu Amusement Park in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, and Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama for the time being from Saturday.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, famous for its cherry blossoms, will also be closed for the time being from Friday.

“It is important to reduce the risk of infection,” an Environment Ministry official said.

Cinema complex operators Toho Cinemas and Shochiku Multiplex Theatres decided to close their theaters in Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture on Saturday and Sunday, and will shorten their weekday hours.

For now, JR and private railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area are planning to operate trains on weekends without reducing the number of trains.

“We cannot predict how many passengers will stop traveling,” a JR East Railway Co. official said.

Private railroad companies agree.

“Self-restraint has been called for over unnecessary and nonurgent outings. Some users do have an urgent need to travel,” said an official at Keikyu Corp.

“If there is a shortage of workers due to infections among station staff, the company will consider reducing the service, but we are not at that stage,” a Seibu Railway Co. official said.

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