Japan slowly opens economy after ending state of emergency

Nikkei -- Oct 02
Japanese businesses are cautiously opening up on the first weekend since the government lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency across the country.

Theme parks and shopping districts were bustling on a sunny Saturday morning, a day after a strong typhoon swept through Tokyo and nearby areas on Friday.

Fun-seekers lined up outside Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, both of which on Friday raised the limit on visitors from 5,000 people a day to 10,000. The parks said they will also begin selling alcoholic beverages at restaurants again. But they are still operating on short hours, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., "for the time being," Oriental Land, operator of the theme parks, said in a news release.

Tickets to both parks are sold out through early November, according to the company's website.

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has also decided to gradually raise the daily limit on visitors from 5,000 people to 10,000 people. It will also start selling alcohol at some restaurants.

The easing of restrictions has brought out travelers as well. People with suitcases in tow were seen boarding trains at Tokyo Station on Saturday. "It has been a long time since I have traveled, and I feel like daily life is coming back a little," said a 29-year-old office worker who was setting out on a previously postponed trip to Toyama Prefecture with a friend. During the state of emergency the government asked people to refrain from traveling between prefectures.

Restaurants and izakaya pubs, some of which were closed during the state of emergency because they could not serve alcohol, are preparing to reopen. The number of reservations made at some 5,300 restaurants nationwide on Sept. 30 was 68,000, 30% higher than on Sept. 27, according to TableCheck, an online reservation service.