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Bars, restaurants suffer as Japan slows down

By Kaori Kaneko

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© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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Look how close those stools are. I wouldn't want to go there, virus or otherwise.

-21 ( +13 / -34 )

Many restaurants are now temporarily closed at the request of the government and the rest are operating under restricted hours with few customers and no financial support at all. Get ready for a high percentage that wont reopen and an increase of bankruptcies, suicides and unemployment. Thanks Abe san for your concerns.

24 ( +30 / -6 )

I feel for them, but what's more important, your business or people's lives? Can't have both can we?

3 ( +24 / -21 )

Nation states are the primary form of socio-political organization we have today. That is why you are compelled to pay taxes(unless you are a company like Amazon or others hiding in tax shelters).It is not a business where you have a choice to spend your money or not. If they are incapable of fulfilling their primary role-collective assistance in a crisis- there is no compelling reason for it to exist.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Mirai: That's exactly the kind of unwarranted attention you bring to this situation. Needless comment.

'Those' kinds of restaurants are the heart and soul of Japan, and I amwell aware that it won't be anytime soon - I do believe that we will be able to return in the future. Closed for the right reasons, but very sad going past my favourite Yakitori last night that normally has a queue out the door by 6:45 in complete darkness. Yes - with stools even closer than those in the photo above.

I really hope the government will come to the aid of Restaurants in particular - not just because I do know several owners who are literally 2 weeks away from having to shutter for good. The money potentially on offer is far from sufficient, even if you have managed to secure a rent holiday from your landlord.

15 ( +24 / -9 )


Mirai: That's exactly the kind of unwarranted attention you bring to this situation. Needless comment.

> Do you know what 'social distancing' means? Do you understand the concept of what it is and why it exists? It's to STOP the spread of contagious diseases. The Tokyo governor has been urging and pleading with people for WEEKS now to stop meeting in confined spaces and keeping a certain distance from others, and people like this just arrogantly ignore the pleas completely. Do you think this restaurant owner is complying to this request? The least this person could do (if he wants to stay in businesses during and after the SOE) is to try to reduce the the seating capacity, spread the tables and stools out further, so that people feel safe dining there. But he's not even doing that, which means that he probably doesn't care or totally ignorant of how serious this situation is.

Yes, this owner, and may other business owners like him, should be called out. This isn't 'business as usual'..this is a 'STATE OF EMERGENCY' . This guy needs to be informed and needs to be more socially responsible. And if he doesn't, then he deserves to go out of business.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

I feel for them, but what's more important, your business or people's lives? Can't have both can we?

Is this a joke? Many of these people are going to tumble into a life of destitution. Whats more important a few old people I don't know or the financial stability, physical safety and wellbeing of my family for years to come? The answer isnt selfish at all. Its survival instict.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Still plenty open here in Nagoya, thank goodness.

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

@Burning Bush

The state of emergency IS business as usual....very little has changed

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

And, they will continue to suffer until the J-Gov takes strict measures to slow the spread of the virus. The longer they procrastinate the longer it’s going to take to stop the spread. The way they are going it’s going to be six months before they slow the spread.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

They should've put the whole country on a hard lock-down (with not travel domestic nor international or businesses open) for two weeks at the end of Feb or the very beginning of March.

We would've been able to isolate the very few cases we had. Two weeks of hardship would've saved us from what could be months/year(s) of hardship.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

i'm one of there suffering restaurants owners , we all have families and there in no sales or income because there are no customers , after paying taxes for years this is the time that Japanese government aids some help to be able to survive .

23 ( +24 / -1 )

If this situation continues for much longer we're going to see more deaths caused by the imploding economy than the Wuhan virus.

You’re totally right. Everyone knows cabin fever is much deadlier than COVID-19.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

When the bills pile up, the bank forecloses, and people wind up destitute, they'll wish they had caught the coronavirus

Or they will wish they voted for leaders who give them more than 2 masks and 100000 yen in a time of unprecedented crisis.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

In looking at a bright side, the virus crisis also provides a window of business opportunity. Some industries like IT network-related sectors may benefit. Their positive stories are unknown or under-reported (or they are unwilling to be exposed). Only negative stories or vocal complaints tend to prevail in media coverage. It's unbalanced, not reflective of the real and whole picture.

Adaption is a key for survival and success. Lifestyle and consumption behavior would be altered and irreversible even though the virus crisis is finally over.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Soon when the number of bankruptcies outpasses infections and corona suicides more than corona deaths.

I hope people who have caused this panic (media. politicians, "experts", ) regret what they have done.

Today April 17 9000 cases 200 deaths, (80% over 80 years old) hardly a state of emergency.

The state of emergency is people have been made terrified to go out, and businesses are collapsing

And don't tell me wait a week, wait a month whatever

you have been saying that since Feb

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

Agree with @dagon. They collect your taxes and make rules and laws That you have to obey. Yet when it is not business as usual like this pandemic, they provide absolutely no leadership and have no money for a rainy day to help its constituents.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

A bottle of wine on the menu for ¥8000 at a restaurant is ordered from Asahi or Suntory and the likes at ¥1500-2000. If you want to support these businesses when they reopen, order more alcohol and draft beer. Also pay in cash.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Mirai: Where do you live? Clearly not in Tokyo. How on earth can you claim that nothing has changed?

Unfortunately, I do have to go to my office at the moment. Its not a big issue as I can make my own food, but there is literally almost nowhere other than convenience store to buy lunch now. The last 3-4 days have seen the few remaning restaurants close their door - most having even given up on take-out as the business simply isn't there. I understand you advocate a 'total' lockdown like Europe but I think that, at least in Tokyo, people have listened (finally). As said before, its just such a shame that many of our favourite places to eat and drink will sadly never reopen without agressive government assistance.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

"No Business" for Leader of The Fee World!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Government need to be helping these businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, without them Japan is stuffed.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If Olympics 2021 is not a possibility, I anticipate Japan would experience another Lost Decades but even worse. If Shinzo Abe managed to return the Yen from deflationary spiral to inflation, the currency can easily stray towards devaluation. This could make Japanese currency as worthless as any African currency, while it is beneficial for exporting more but the population in Japan can't accommodate such luxury. Japan will become a third world country. So Abe is facing the two-edged dagger of the Yen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Today April 17 9000 cases 200 deaths, (80% over 80 years old) hardly a state of emergency.

Sorry, but where did you find that 80% of the death is 80 years old?

As of today 17/4/2020, 77 of 192 death count are over 80 years old.

66 of 192 is in 60s and 70s.

9 of 192 is younger than 60.

And I don't know how in a country like Japan is possible but 40 of them is undefined.

I think we have to sustain a good morale and check about the correct stats before we establish our arguments to the misleading/incorrect figures.

This is totally misleading and I think @moderator should delete this comment.

source: https://newsdigest.jp/pages/coronavirus/

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Government here is not helping people who have closed or would like to close their business, two masks per household and the talk of 100,000yen per person is not saving anyones livelyhood. Some people have to pay rents, bills, bank loans, mortages, taxes, food for the family still.

The govt has talked but so far no action on the economic front, some are in desperate shape !

Govt screwed this up as did the others around the world by neglecting to stop the inbound infected tourists therefore the govt needs to be compensating all those who are now suffering closures, not just talking about it, some people cannot afford the luxury of waiting while the fumbling bumbling morons in govt stumble around !

Economic Assistance Action is needed RIGHT NOW ! Abe Aso and others in the luxury seats.

Some wont make it because Govt screwed it up badly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

40 million people in the Tokyo metro area - upwards of 3,000 cases of SARS-CoV-2, is an infection rate of 0.007% of the population are. Osaka metro area essentially the same percentage of the population is infected. There is no vaccine and to even hazard a guess as to when one will be available is mere speculation, as there is no guarantee one can be discovered and put into production. The only protection for the general population is so-called herd immunity - you become infected, suffer a period of illness, recover and have produced anti-bodies, 80 % will exhibit characteristics from asymptomatic to mild. 20% will have a more severe illness and require treatment and a smaller percentage will, as it is quaintly stated, suffer infection mortality. So. What does that mean? Lockdown to flatten the curve, with the end result that a very unique and deeply rooted culture is destroyed and the contagion burns thru the populace at a slower rate and lasts for 18 months or two years. That seems to be the prevalent thinking among politicians. There are numerous epidemiologists and scientists who are critical of such a strategy. An overwhelming factor, however, is the inability of the medical system to accommodate seriously ill patients. And for whatever reason, economies that can produce loads of ammunition in various forms for fratricidal violence, cannot even provide sufficient numbers of regulator masks and other essentials, let alone ventilators and hospital 'beds'. But, what is needed is a measured and sane policy, certainly some form of so-called social distancing, wearing of masks that actually ward off the disease, hygiene aka washing hands and the like and restricting one's movements to a regular pattern. Small shops and restaurants are a bedrock of the culture and economy - they need patrons and of not a significant bailout pronto. I support my favorite restaurants and shops while being careful and caring not to endanger staff or fellow patrons, which is possible. However, I fully expect to become ill at some point, it is inevitable. One thing that needs to be canned is the industrial tourist industry and shifted to a domestic focus and a more viable social ecology that is sustainable and not speculative. And as the individual above stated: patronize your small shops, especially one's that are neighborly and pay in CASH. . That's another damaging shift attributable to industrial tourism, the use of cashless payment and credit cards, kill that off, pay in cash, the money goes where it deserves - not to the purveyors of some app or big fat credit card companies, which costs the proprietors of small businesses, shops and restaurants. Just be careful and take care to not spread the disease among your fellows - you know how it works, just like the flu, though it is a different disease act accordingly and not like a crazy person.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Most of the governments around the world are not handling their pandemics very well. Italy, Spain, France, UK, Japan and America.

I live in Bergamo, Italy, the once epicenter of the virus of Europe. Initially, Italy handled it badly, but within a couple of weeks, major lockdown, then a week after that absolute lockdown. We have been in total lockdown for 5 weeks now, the strictest of all in this continent: parks forbidden, children go out of home forbidden, one adult only and within 200 metres of home if walking and must wear a mask.

Please remove Italy from your list as we do it far more strictly and have taken this far more seriously than the other countries in this part of the world.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Our governor in Miyazaki has said many times "There is no authority in the constitution nor does anyone in Japan have the authority to suspend rights"

I am so glad we have Kono as governor.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese business owners need to learn how to pivot. They can't always rely on the government to save them every time there's a catastrophe like this.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Mirai: Where do you live? Clearly not in Tokyo. How on earth can you claim that nothing has changed?

You're right. I don't live in Tokyo, but I commute here every single day aboard an emptier yet still crowded train full of people who don't know what the meaning of social distancing is. So they'll sit or stand next next you, breathing heavily with no mask on, with their cigarette breath.

As far as shops, yes everything is pretty much closed, but that doesn't prevent people from conjugating and and gathering in tight quarters just talking and touching things. Its this kind of of activity that helps propagate the virus. I guess we just have to keep seeing the numbers rise until it reaches a tipping point. Instead of being proactive being reactive is the Japanese way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why is the government not even talking about rent freezes to help bars and restaurants. For many this is the biggest issue and failure to pay their rents will end in eviction and bankruptcy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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