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Alcohol sales suspended on Japan's Tokaido bullet trains over virus spread

This file photo shows a N700S shinkansen train beginning regular operations at JR Tokyo Station on July 1, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuro Tamaki)

NAGOYA -- Due to spreading coronavirus infections, in-car sales of alcoholic beverages are being suspended on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line running between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations for an indeterminate time commencing Jan. 21, the operator announced Jan. 20.

    While the Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) said the suspension period is undecided, alcoholic drinks are still being sold inside stations and there are no prohibitions on bringing them into cars for consumption.

    During the previous state of emergency announced in April 2020, JR Central halved the number of onboard carts selling snacks and drinks from two to one, but the bullet train operator continued selling alcoholic beverages on its services. But this time, the operator apparently decided it shouldn't actively sell the drinks amid surging COVID-19 cases.

    Since Jan. 14, when the state of emergency was expanded to the Kansai region in western Japan, the West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) also suspended in-car sales of alcoholic drinks on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line that runs between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations.

    (Japanese original by Shiho Sakai, Nagoya News Center)

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