TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to name pachinko parlors that remain open despite the ongoing state of emergency in effect due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports Kyodo News (Apr. 28).
Over the weekend, survey teams sent by the government examined 156 parlors in the capital that had been reported as still operating by residents. As of noon on Sunday, a total of 22 parlors were found to still be in operation.
By Monday night, 21 of the outlying parlors had shut their doors. On Tuesday morning, the final parlor was closed despite a message on its web site that claimed it would be open for business.
However, the government survey was not exhaustive. A camera for Fuji News Network (Apr. 28) found a line of around 30 people waiting outside a parlor in the capital at around 10:00 a.m.
A government source told the network that it was aware of three parlors still in operation as of Tuesday.
According to TV Asahi (Apr. 28), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will name any parlors found open during an additional survey on Tuesday afternoon in an effort to shame them into closing.
Subject to “expulsion”
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.
The Tokyo Pachinko and Pachislot Cooperative Union includes about 770 parlors. According to the union, about 200 parlors were open as of April 20.
Four days later, the union issued a statement saying that any parlors that defied the closure request could be subject to “expulsion [from the union].”
The first to apply the shaming tactic was Osaka Prefectural Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi, who last week revealed the names of six parlors still in operation in the prefecture despite a request that they shut from April 14.
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.
“How I will be able to relieve stress”
In Hyogo Prefecture, the government on Monday announced the names of six parlors still operating in Kobe and Toyooka cities and the town of Sayo. As of Tuesday morning, all six were still operating.
“If it’s open, I’ll absolutely go play,” one customer told Mainichi Broadcasting System (Apr. 28). “If a pachinko parlor is closed, I wonder how I will be able to relieve stress.”
According to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of coronavirus infections in Japan rose by 172 to 14,325 on Monday. The figure has been trending down. Exactly one week before, it was up 345.