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Pachinko: 9 parlors reopen in Tokyo, Osaka

OSAKA (TR) – A total of nine pachinko parlors in Osaka and Tokyo have reopened despite the ongoing state of emergency in effect due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports TBS News (May 7).

According to the Osaka Prefectural Government, a parlor in Sakai City and two others in Osaka City were open on Thursday.

A line of patrons formed outside the parlor in Sakai before it opened. In footage shown by the network, the patrons were seen standing a meter or so apart from one another.

At a parlor in Osaka City’s Asahi Ward, customers were instructed to use hand sanitizer, wear breathing masks and wash their hands. Their temperatures were taken upon entry, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (May 7).

After various measures were taken by the prefectural government last month, all parlors in the prefecture were closed as of April 30.

Meanwhile, at least six parlors reopened in Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government described the reopening of the parlors as “extremely unfortunate.”

Punters stand apart from one another as they wait for a pachinko parlor in Sakai City to open on Thursday (Twitter)

Since the crowded parlors pose a high risk for infection of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, they are subject to the recently revised New Influenza Special Measures Act.

On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended the nationwide state of emergency until May 31. The previous period ended on Wednesday.

Over the past few weeks, data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has shown the number of infections has dropped to about one third of its peak last month.