TOKYO (TR) – There are more than 20 pachinko parlors still operating in the capital despite the ongoing state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports TV Asahi (Apr. 27).
On Saturday and Sunday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government sent 4-person teams to examine 156 parlors in the capital that had been reported as still operating by residents.
As of noon on Sunday, a total of 22 were still in operation, the government said. Members of the teams distributed a request to the management of each parlor that asks that they close.
Many responded to the requests by saying that they would be shut by Monday. On Tuesday, the teams are expected to return to the parlors to examine whether their doors are closed or not.
Name and shame
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.
Earlier this month, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike asked that pachinko parlors close from April 11 to at least May 6.
Last week, Osaka Prefectural Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi revealed the names of six parlors still in operation in the prefecture despite a request asking that they shut from April 14.
The names were revealed in hopes that management would be shamed into closing. However, lines of customers formed outside one parlor in Sakai City before it opened at just past 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Two other parlors in the city were also operating.
“Stress builds if you suppress your hobbies,” one male customer told NHK (Apr. 26). “I’m reducing my frequency [of playing], but I won’t give it up.”
The three other parlors, located in Hirakata and Osaka cities, have since closed.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of coronavirus infections in Japan rose by 210 to 14,153 on Sunday. The figure has been trending down. Exactly one week before, it was up 551.