National

Store shelves stripped of toilet paper amid coronavirus fears

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Supermarkets and drugstores in Japan have experienced shortages of toilet paper on jitters the product will follow face masks in selling out amid the spread of coronavirus in the country. The "panic buying" on Friday came despite an industry body's request for people to stay calm. "As we have sufficient… Read

National

Sales of Kumamon mascot goods hit record ¥158 billion in 2019

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Products bearing the image of Kumamon, the black bear mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, racked up sales of at least 157.9 billion yen ($1.4 billion) in 2019, the local government said Friday. Sales have hit fresh record highs every year since 2011 when the prefectural government began conducting the survey. Total… Read

National

Ryokan at Japanese onsen resort goes bankrupt after 64 years due to coronavirus

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As Japan struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, the local economy is being hit hard, with businesses at popular tourist sites now facing an uncertain future. In the city of Kyoto, local merchants have taken matters into their own hands, setting up… Read

National

Hokkaido declares state of emergency over virus

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Hokkaido declared a state of emergency on Friday over the rapid spread of the new virus there. Hokkaido Gov Naomichi Suzuki said the emergency will continue until mid-March. Suzuki, wearing a face mask, urged all residents to stay home this weekend, which he said is a critical time to keep… Read

National

Parents, teachers scramble to cope after Abe urges school shutdown

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Angry Japanese parents joined bewildered teachers and businesses on Friday in a rush to find new ways to live and work for a month after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's shock call for all schools to close in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading. Abe's unprecedented move late on Thursday to… Read

National

Tokyo Disney parks closing for two weeks over virus concerns

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The operator of Tokyo's two Disney resorts, Disneyland and DisneySea, said Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks on fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus. "Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have decided to proceed with an extraordinary closure from Saturday February 29 through Sunday March… Read

National

Abe's abrupt call to close schools triggers confusion

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's abrupt request on Thursday for all of Japan's schools to be closed from next week through early April amid concern over the spread of the new coronavirus has triggered confusion in the country, with bureaucrats expressing anger. The instruction, which comes as Abe has been under… Read

National

Ministry of Justice's human rights bureau offers free counseling services to foreign residents

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Have you ever experienced discrimination because of your race or nationality, in your local community, workplace? Examples include being refused a rental property or store service on grounds of nationality, or one’s children experiencing bullying at school. With the aim of giving proper respect to the human rights of foreign… Read

National

24 prefectures yet to add extra hospital beds for coronavirus: survey

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Twenty-four of Japan's 47 prefectures have not yet increased the number of hospital beds for patients suffering coronavirus infection as requested by the central government, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday. The survey, based on interviews with prefectural government officials conducted from Feb. 20 to 26, also found 15 prefectures… Read

National

Japan to close all schools until early April to control spread of virus

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked all elementary, middle and high schools nationwide on Thursday to close until the end of the spring holidays which begin in late March. Nursery schools and daycare facilities will be allowed to stay open, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. The… Read

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