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Few areas in Japan achieve 80% reduction in people going outside: data

Few people are seen in front of the usually busy JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on the afternoon of April 26, 2020. (Mainichi/Yuki Miyatake)

TOKYO -- Few areas in Japan attained an 80% reduction in people venturing outside on April 26, amid the state of emergency due to the new coronavirus outbreak, according to mobile phone location and other data.

The Japanese government is requesting people to refrain from unnecessary outings and is promoting an 80% cut in direct social contact in a bid to bring the outbreak under control.

The analysis was carried out by mobile network carrier NTT Docomo Inc. based on location data and other information. The percentage of people that had ventured outdoors as of 3 p.m. on April 26, compared to average weekend figures before the coronavirus' spread (between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14 this year), still varied wildly across the country, ranging from a decline of 87.8% to 18%.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has asked residents to "stay home and save lives" during the usually bustling "Golden Week" holiday period between April 25 and May 6. According to data by NTT Docomo, in Tokyo, five major downtown areas saw over 80% reductions in gatherings, including Tokyo Station at 87.2%, the nearby Marunouchi district at 85.3% and Shinjuku Station at 81.9%. Meanwhile, seven areas recorded figures lower than the 80% target, including the Ginza district at 76.9% and the Kasumigaseki district, where central government office buildings are located, at 74.4%.

Among 13 prefectures that are designated as requiring special precautionary measures, only four areas surpassed 80% reductions, including the Umeda district in Osaka Prefecture in western Japan at 87.8% and Nagoya Station in central Japan at 80.9%. In other areas in the 13 prefectures, Sapporo Station in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido saw a 73.6% decline, Yokohama Station in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo witnessed a 78.9% fall, the Tenjin district in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, had a 78.3% drop, while Gifu Station in the central Japan prefecture of Gifu saw a 56% reduction.

In the other 34 prefectures across the country, some areas had low reduction rates in people going outside, such as Otsu Station in the western Japan prefecture of Shiga, which had a 18% fall, Maebashi Station in Gunma Prefecture northwest of Tokyo, which managed only a 22.2% reduction, and Miyazaki Station in the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki, which saw a drop of only 26.1%.

(Japanese original by Kei Sato, Political News Department)

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