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Despite virus emergency, Tokyo area stations are still crowded after 'Golden Week' holiday

Commuters wearing masks are seen in front of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on the morning of May 6, 2021, after the "Golden Week" holiday. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Even with a state of emergency in effect, trains and stations in Japan's capital area were crowded on the morning of May 6, the day after the "Golden Week" holiday.

    Major stations like JR Yurakucho Station in Chiyoda Ward were full with commuters heading for work or school, apparently in part because the East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) and major private railway operators reduced train services due to the state of emergency.

    A 58-year-old company president who came to Yurakucho Station on a route that included Tokyo Metro Co. trains said: "It was more crowded than usual on the trains; so much so that passengers' shoulders were touching. I was nervous because there was someone not wearing a mask."

    Meanwhile, a 28-year-old company employee taking JR Yamanote Line said, "I didn't feel there were too many passengers." But she rejected the idea that the state of emergency was having an effect, saying: "It has no force behind it. I don't think fewer people were out even during Golden Week."

    JR East reduced train services on seven lines including the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Negishi lines by some 20% during morning commute times between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 30 and May 6. Tokyo Metro Co. and some other private railway operators including Tokyu Railways Co. are also partially reducing their services.

    (Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura and Richi Tanaka, Tokyo City News Department)

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