Pachinko parlors defy Covid-19 closure requests, angering political leaders

Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is tasked with enforcing Japan’s “state of emergency” declaration, has singled out pachinko parlors as a class of businesses that are in many cases defying requests to suspend their operations.

He was in part responding to reports from Hyogo Prefecture, where Governor Toshizo Ido was also pointing to cases of non-cooperation: “A little less under 20 percent of the pachinko parlors in the prefecture are still open. There are reports that ‘customers are lining up’ and some local residents have complained by telephone.”

Both Minister Nishimura and Governor Ido threatened the noncompliant pachinko parlors with the exercise of Article 45 of the Act on Special Measures Against New Influenza, which would allow the authorities to name and shame the specific businesses which do not cooperate with efforts to protect public health during the emergency.

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