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Japanese people living in Shanghai stressed over COVID-19 lockdown

Neighborhood committee members prepare to deliver vegetables door to door in the locked down Jingan district of western Shanghai, China, on April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Chen Si)

MAEBASHI -- People affiliated with Japan's Gunma Prefecture who reside in Shanghai have been facing difficulties amid the Chinese city's COVID-19 lockdown.

    Toru Dobashi, director of the Gunma Shanghai Office, told the Mainichi Shimbun that he has been subjected to continuous restrictions from April 1, and has been unable to go out even though he has received no rations of food and other daily necessities.

    Dobashi lives in the western part of the city, populated by many Japanese people, and he said that other Japanese families with young children have also been forced to lead similar lives under the lockdown. The official commented, "I can't step out of my room. I'm worried as I don't know how long this situation will last, and I'm also concerned about the lack of exercise."

    Prior to the lockdown, Dobashi purchased 10 kilograms of rice, six bags of frozen boiled dumplings, vegetables and other food. However, as he uses about 150 grams of rice per day, a prolonged lockdown may interfere with his daily life. Another individual affiliated with the Gunma Prefectural Government expressed hope for the lockdown restrictions to be lifted early, saying, "We can't live off rice forever."

    Eight expatriate employees of Sanden Corp., an automobile parts manufacturer based in the Gunma Prefecture city of Isesaki, which operates Tianjin Sanden Automotive Air Conditioning Co. in Shanghai, have also been placed in quarantine at home. An individual affiliated with the company commented, "Information has not been properly passed on by Chinese authorities, and stress is building up for everyone."

    Although many employees have received rations, some of them have been quarantined since March 17, depending on where they live. As they cannot meet each other in person, they have apparently been holding online meetings twice a week and have been checking up on one another's health. They have been unable to operate factories, and said that Chinese employees and others have been managing them while staying overnight in sleeping bags at the plants.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Maebashi Bureau)

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