Japan takes first steps to bring business back
NHK -- May 27
Japan is slowly bringing its economy back on line as a state of emergency was fully lifted after almost two months. While many in Tokyo seemed eager to reclaim a sense of normalcy, steps to keep the coronavirus at bay mean it's far from business as usual.

On Tuesday, stocks in the capital rose on the back of optimism about an economic recovery. The benchmark Nikkei Average jumped 2.6 percent, reaching levels not seen since early March.

A major challenge will be adapting to new rules on social distancing.

A bowling alley opened its lanes for the first time in a month and a half. But celebrations had to be low-key. The once ubiquitous high-five is now a no-no.

Some commercial complexes are preparing to reopen as the capital moves to fully restart economic activities.

Still, the optimism is coupled with anxiety after such a long closure. At a clothing store that saw sales drop to only about 30 percent of the same period last year, a staff member wondered if customers would return.

Osawa Takenori said, "I want there to be an atmosphere that makes customers want to buy something, not just an increase in the number of people going out."

At Narita Airport near Tokyo, passengers were still few and far between.

As of Tuesday, the Japanese government has banned entry from 100 countries and territories including the US and Russia. Many shops at the airport have been forced to close.

Ito Hayato at NAA Retailing said, " I think it will take some time before passenger levels on international flights return to normal. I hope the environment for travel improves, and customers come back."

Meanwhile, the Japanese Cabinet is set to approve a second supplementary budget bill for the current fiscal year on Wednesday. It's expected to exceed 100 trillion yen, or about 940 billion dollars.

The budget will include cash handouts of up to 200,000 yen for healthcare workers. It also includes a plan to help struggling businesses by covering two-thirds of their rent for six months.

緊急事態宣言の解除から一夜が明けていつもの朝の出勤風景が戻ってきていました。経済活動が再開され、街の至るところに新しい生活様式が導入されています。  ようやく戻ってきた日常。ただ、以前と同じというわけにはまだいきません。東京・渋谷区にある老舗のボウリング場「笹塚ボウル」。26日に4日間、会員限定でオープンしました。コロナウイルスと共存で新たな生活様式も見え始めました。感染者が出た場合、すぐ連絡が取れるよう連絡先を記入します。さらに、マスクも着用しなければなりません。熱中症対策も立てながら、本格的なオープンを目指します。さらに、こんなアイデアも検討中です。  笹塚ボウル・広報担当、大城裕介さん:「階を分けて上の階が高齢の方。下の階は若年層にしていこうかと」  26日、東京都では「ステップ1」に移行。一部、運動施設や図書館が再開されました。公園の規制も解除され、子どもたちの元気な声が戻ってきました。  品川区の図書館は休館前に予約された本の貸し出しに限り、サービスを再開しました。ソーシャルディスタンスはもはや日常の一コマです。  魚市場は徐々ににぎわいを取り戻しています。営業時間が午後10時になった飲食店は様子を見ながらの再開です。新鮮な魚が売りの「魚可津」。26日から午後10時までの営業ですが、仕入れの量は1.5倍程度です。  サラリーマンも会社に戻ってきました。長い在宅勤務で体がなまっているようです。  社員:「肩と腰が痛かったりというのはある。足の感覚とか筋肉が落ちている」  こちらのIT企業は全社員4800人を在宅勤務にしていましたが、約3割にあたる1300人が出社予定です。オフィスも新たな生活様式です。エレベーターは人数制限をして、さらに向かい合わないように外を向いて乗ります。  新しい生活様式になり、当分、見られなくなるものもあります。浅草・仲見世通りにある昆布店です。店頭で昆布を削る実演販売が人気の店でしたが・・・。26日に店を再開しましたが、名物の実演販売は中止です。江戸時代から続く人形焼店でも再開の準備に追われていました。段ボールに積み上げられたのは、休業中に賞味期限が切れた商品です。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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