In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, authorities around Japan are pleading for residents to refrain from going out ahead of one of the country's biggest holiday periods. In Tokyo, the metropolitan government has dubbed the 12-day period through May 6, "stay-at-home week."
Shinkansen bullet trains are usually crowded ahead of the spring holiday. But some trains that left Tokyo on Saturday had no passengers in the non-reserved cars. Officials from Japan Railway say the occupancy rate for non-reserved seats on the Tokaido Shinkansen line was below 10 percent as of Saturday afternoon.
The Togoshi Ginza shopping district in Tokyo was crowded with shoppers last weekend. But on Saturday, the streets were mostly deserted. The shopping district association has asked stores to shut down voluntarily on weekends and holidays in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Shop owners will receive payouts from the Tokyo government for lost business.
Yamamura Toshio, the head of Togoshi Ginza Shopping District Cooperative Association says, "It is hard for us to ask customers not to visit, but we would like to cooperate with the measure to call on people to stay at home."