After a 30-minute delay to Monday night’s press conference, and amid unfounded rumors that the Japan government was going to order a nationwide lockdown, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike once again made an urgent request for Tokyo residents to stay indoors for an undetermined number of days, or weeks.

This week’s request focused specifically on Tokyo restaurants and bars, requesting owners of such establishments where people can cluster in crowded locations, with poor ventilation, in close communication, to assist with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s efforts to prevent the further spread of coronavirus infections.

Koike specifically said she would like to ask the residents of Tokyo to refrain from entering food and beverage establishments that provide entertainment, such as karaoke venues, live houses, bars and nightclubs.

Earlier in the day Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide denied rumors of a possible lockdown of cities in the country, saying the coronavirus pandemic in Japan has not reached the level that necessitates a state of emergency declaration.

Record Coronavirus Cases

On Sunday, March 29, Tokyo reported 68 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, a one-day record for all of Japan. As of Sunday, the total number of infections in Tokyo was 430.

Koike had earlier requested Tokyo residents to stay home over the weekend of March 28–29, when the cherry blossom season was at full bloom, a time when millions of visitors typically visit Tokyo’s parks and gardens. She also asked for employees to work from home as much as possible and that people should refrain from going out at night.

NHK News reported that fewer people were noticeably absent from Tokyo’s streets – and parks. Some Tokyo wards reported decreases of up to 40%,  largely due to the fact a low pressure system and cold air mass dumped a heavy dose of snow on the nation’s capital on Sunday.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates Decided

NHK News also reported that unnamed Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials say the 2020 Tokyo Games will open on July 23, 2021, and the Paralympic Games will open on August 24, 2021.

Last week  Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed until 2021 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Feature image: Ann Stryzhekin /