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Northwest Japan governor denounces street drinking amid virus surge

Akita Gov. Norihisa Satake is seen speaking at a regular news conference in this file photo taken in the city of Akita on July 29, 2019. (Mainichi/Shun Kawaguchi)

AKITA -- Akita Gov. Norihisa Satake took aim at street drinking on April 22, saying every effort must be made to stop people drinking alcohol and chatting in groups on the street to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    Speaking to a group of reporters at the prefectural government headquarters in the northwest Japan prefecture, Gov. Satake branded street drinking as "an illegal act of road occupancy." He also indicated that he would not be opposed to forceful measures to stop people doing it, saying, "It'd be fine with them being dragged away (from the spot in the street where they are drinking)."

    It has been asserted that street drinking is a hotbed for coronavirus infections. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato urged caution during an April 19 press conference, saying, "It's not the case that if people are in parks or on the streets, they face no risks."

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Takano, Akita Bureau)

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