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Tokyo music venues reopen after coronavirus-triggered closure request lifted

An audience member is seen to the left wearing a mask, face shield and gloves at a live music venue in Tokyo's Nerima Ward on June 19, 2020, after it reopened for the first time in some three months. (Mainichi/Tatsuro Tamaki)

TOKYO -- Live music venues in Japan's capital can once again welcome music lovers through their doors, after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on June 19 lifted its request that they close temporarily in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The policy shift also applies to restaurants where employees entertain guests.

"This day is finally here. It's been too long," said an emotional Kazuhito Kawashima, 57, who reopened his music venue "Club Dorothy" in Tokyo's Nerima Ward for the first time in about three months. Kawashima had been unable to open the establishment since the virus began to spread in Japan, as all live act bookings were cancelled starting from mid-March.

To decrease transmission risks, the 100-person capacity venue can only admit 10 customers at a time. For now, operating hours have been cut short, while audience members are asked to wear masks and face shields.

"I received heartwarming and encouraging words from regular patrons, and I think I can keep going now," Kawashima commented.

(Japanese original by Tatsuro Tamaki, Photo Group)

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