Osaka, Fukuoka, Chiba make requests for businesses to close amid emergency

Osaka’s skyline is pictured in this file photo. (Shutterstock)

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — Business suspension requests took effect Tuesday in Chiba, Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures as measures against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The requests apply to commercial facilities that handle nonessential goods and entertainment facilities, urging them to close through May 6, when the state of emergency is slated to end.

The Tokyo metropolitan government and the prefectural governments of Kanagawa and Saitama made the same requests immediately upon the central government’s declaration of a state of emergency on April 7 for the above six prefectures and Hyogo Prefecture.

The Hyogo prefectural government is set to issue its request Wednesday.

There are some differences to the requests depending on the prefecture.

The Chiba prefectural government has requested the closures of karaoke facilities, pachinko parlors, internet cafes and other such entertainment facilities, as well as elementary, junior high and high schools and kindergartens.

On Tuesday morning, the area surrounding JR Chiba Station was mostly deserted. Notices were posted on the shutters of amusement centers and other shops to announce their temporary closure.

Unlike the governments of Tokyo and Kanagawa, Chiba has put off formally requesting restaurants, including izakaya Japanese-style pubs, to cut their hours of operation.

The prefecture wants restaurants to voluntarily change their business hours, and it is considering using subsidies provided by the central government to provide financial support to restaurants that do so.

In Osaka Prefecture, notices were posted at the entrances of stores in shopping and entertainment districts from the morning. Restaurants have been requested to operate only between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., as in Tokyo. Many restaurants have put up information on social media in addition to the posted notices.

The Hyogo prefectural government’s measures are set to be similar to Osaka’s.

In Fukuoka Prefecture, many shops were shuttered on Tuesday in the Tenjin shopping and entertainment district in Fukuoka City, the largest such district in Kyushu.

The Fukuoka city government announced the same day that it would provide financial support to medical and nursing care facilities in the city. Medical institutions will receive ¥400,000 to ¥6 million, depending on the size of the facility.

If small and midsize companies and small business owners suspend their operations, they will receive a subsidy of four-fifths of the rent for their shops, up to ¥500,000.

“We will take our own support measures so that the business suspension request can maintain its effectiveness,” Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima said at a press conference.