Tag: japan

QUEER JAPAN Takes Audiences on a Virtual Vacation December 11

QUEER JAPAN Takes Audiences on a Virtual Vacation December 11

Following a successful run on the global film festival circuit, Altered Innocence has announced the North American release of Graham Kolbeins’ feature debut Queer Japan. The colorful and vibrant documentary will be available in the US and Canada December 11th via Theatrical At Home and on Digital HD, including Apple TV, Prime Video and Google Play.

Queer Japan explores the lives of Japan’s contemporary LGBTQ culture, bursting at the seams with multi-faceted and uninhibited artists as well as audacious activists fighting for equality and understanding. The documentary profiles individuals from across the Spectrum including drag queen Vivienne Sato, erotic manga artist Gengoroh Tagame, butoh dancer Atsushi Matsuda, multimedia artist Nogi Sumiko, HIV+ advocate Hiroshi Hasegawa, activist Akira the Hustler, and transgender author Tomato Hatakeno.

Through five years of development and shooting, Kolbeins and his producers Hiromi Iida and Anne Ishii conducted over 100 interviews, capturing a broad scope of gender and sexuality in Japan. “There is no singular ‘queer Japan,’ because queer people are not a monolith,” says Kolbeins. “This film merely offers a patchwork of personal experiences told by a few dozen artists, activists, community leaders, and everyday people living in Japan today. It is my deepest hope that our approach does justice to the subjects and communities we’re depicting. It’s a great honor to share the stories of THE BRAVE individuals who opened their lives to this film, and it’s my intention with Queer Japan to amplify their voices to audiences around the world.”

Queer Japan had its world premiere at the Rainbow Reel Tokyo, beginning a global tour of critical and audience acclaim. The film went on to make its North American premiere at Outfest Los Angeles, going on to screen at over two dozen festivals, including NewFest, Hong Kong LGFF, Philadelphia Asian American Festival, Mix Copenhagen and Reel Afformations.

Queer Japan was produced by HIROMEDIA8 and directed by Graham Kolbeins, with writing by Kolbeins and Anne Ishii. Hiromi Iida produced, and Ishii and Kolbeins served as co-producers.

Trailblazing artists, activists, and everyday people from across the Spectrum of gender and sexuality defy social norms and dare to shine in this kaleidoscopic view of LGBTQ+ culture in contemporary Japan. From glossy pride parades to playfully perverse underground parties, Queer Japan pictures people living brazenly unconventional lives in the sunlight, the shadows, and everywhere in between.

Dazzling, iconoclastic drag queen Vivienne Sato peels back the layers of language and identity. Maverick manga artist Gengoroh Tagame tours the world with his unapologetically erotic gay comics. Councilwoman Aya Kamikawa recounts her rocky path to becoming the first transgender elected official in Japan. At legendary kink-positive hentai party Department H, non-binary performance artist Saeborg uses rubber to create a second skin. Culled from 100+ interviews conducted over 3 years in locations across Japan, Queer Japan features dozens of individuals sharing their experiences in their own words. Get to know a vibrant and inspiring group of human beings in a country with a unique history of queer expression.

Watch the trailer here:

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Japan Travel Campaign Sparks Debate on Links to Covid Spread

(Bloomberg) — As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19.

The popular “Go To Travel” campaign, which discounts trips to boost regions hit hardest by a lack of tourists, is one of the government’s most prized projects for spurring the economy, and has been heavily backed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.



a view of a city: High Coronavirus Numbers Fuel Concerns of Third Wave in Japan


© Bloomberg
High Coronavirus Numbers Fuel Concerns of Third Wave in Japan

Sapporo TV Tower in Sapporo. Japan has removed the Hokkaido capital from a domestic travel promotion campaign.

Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg

But as the country tackles its largest surge in the virus yet, a debate has erupted over whether the program is a main cause for the rise in infections. The risk is that the campaign could be doing more long-term harm than good in a country attempting to balance growing the economy and controlling the pandemic.

On Friday, Suga urged travelers to refrain from using the program for trips originating in Sapporo and Osaka, areas badly hit by the current virus wave. He had earlier scaled back the program but only for travelers headed to these hot spots from other parts of Japan.

The decision followed a record 570 new cases in Tokyo on Friday. As the richest and most populous region in the country, Tokyo’s participation in the program is essential to its success.



chart, bar chart: Tourism Boost


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Tourism Boost

The “Go To Travel” campaign is just one of multiple subsidies promoted to kickstart the economy, with “Go To Eat” and “Go To Event” programs offering restaurant and event discounts. Critical commentary and opponents on social media have mocked the programs as “Go To Hospital” or “Go To Heaven.”

National leaders have been reluctant to scrap the stimulus that has been hailed for injecting trillions of yen into the economy. There have been only 197 infections among the more than 40 million people who have taken part in the Go To program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Thursday, and the government hasn’t received reports of hotel workers or others being infected by travelers, he said.

Earlier in the week Suga had denied that Go To Travel was helping fuel the outbreak.

“There is no evidence that the travel program is the main cause” of the surge, Suga said at a parliamentary session on Wednesday, telling the opposition leader, “If you have a better idea, I’m open to hearing it.”

The campaign had been crossing wires with local governments as they begin to implement fresh restrictions to stem the rising number of severe Covid-19 cases in Japan. Tokyo’s governor is urging residents to avoid unnecessary outings, and the government is raising the specter of another state of emergency.

Public Concern

Suga helped launch the program during the summer surge amid great public concern. In an August interview, he said one reason for the subsidies is to keep hotels and inns afloat to reach the

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Japan Debates Travel Push; Astra Plans New Trial: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

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As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19. AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.

New infections in New York reached a seven-month high, while hospitalizations rose to their highest level since June. In Europe, the total number of cases in Germany topped 1 million, and the number of patients in intensive care rose to record levels. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to do more to rein in the pandemic and called on Europe’s ski resorts to close.

Elsewhere, London will avoid the toughest coronavirus restrictions when England’s partial lockdown ends next week, the number of severely ill French patients in intensive care fell to the lowest level in more than three weeks. Argentines mourning the death of soccer icon Diego Maradona ignored virus restrictions.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 60.8 million; deaths top 1.4 millionBiden warns of ‘long, hard winter’ for virus in somber addressLondon avoids toughest curbs as Tories protestAirline claims that flying is safe stir doubts among expertsThe best and the worst places to be in the coronavirus eraCovid vaccine rush in China raises fears of booming black market

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



chart, histogram: U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May


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U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May

India’s Zydus Plans Launch of Vaccine by March (11:05 a.m. HK)

Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine is likely to enter phase III trials next month and a launch is expected by March if things go according to the plan, The Economic Times reported.

South Korea to Decide on Social Distancing Rules Soon (11 a.m. HK)

South Korea will decide soon whether further tightening of social distancing rules is needed as the nation reported more than 500 daily cases for second day, a health ministry official said.

Debate Erupts Over Japan Travel Campaign (10 a.m. HK)

As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19.

The popular “Go To Travel” campaign, which discounts trips to boost regions hit hardest by a lack of tourists, is one of the government’s most prized projects for spurring the economy, and has been heavily backed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

U.K. Moves to Get Vaccine Approved Before EU (8:03 a.m. HK)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked the U.K. medical regulator to potentially bypass its European Union counterpart and approve the supply of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine to speed its deployment.

AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial (8:02 a.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as

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Japan Debates Travel Campaign; Astra’s New Trial: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19. AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.

New infections in New York reached a seven-month high, while hospitalizations rose to their highest level since June. In Europe, the total number of cases in Germany topped 1 million, and the number of patients in intensive care rose to record levels. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to do more to rein in the pandemic and called on Europe’s ski resorts to close.

Elsewhere, London will avoid the toughest coronavirus restrictions when England’s partial lockdown ends next week, the number of severely ill French patients in intensive care fell to the lowest level in more than three weeks. Argentines mourning the death of soccer icon Diego Maradona ignored virus restrictions.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 60.8 million; deaths top 1.4 millionBiden warns of ‘long, hard winter’ for virus in somber addressLondon avoids toughest curbs as Tories protestAirline claims that flying is safe stir doubts among expertsThe best and the worst places to be in the coronavirus eraCovid vaccine rush in China raises fears of booming black market

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



chart, histogram: U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May


© Bloomberg
U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May

Debate Erupts Over Japan Travel Campaign (10 a.m. HK)

As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19.

The popular “Go To Travel” campaign, which discounts trips to boost regions hit hardest by a lack of tourists, is one of the government’s most prized projects for spurring the economy, and has been heavily backed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

U.K. Moves to Get Vaccine Approved Before EU (8:03 a.m. HK)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked the U.K. medical regulator to potentially bypass its European Union counterpart and approve the supply of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine to speed its deployment.

AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial (8:02 a.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.

The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showed in a portion of an existing trial, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said. It’s favoring that option rather than adding an arm to a separate study that’s already underway in the U.S.

California’s Positive-Test Rate Hits 6.1% (6:15 p.m. NY)

California reported 14,640 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total for the state to

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China and Japan to resume coronavirus-hit business travel

China and Japan have agreed to resume coronavirus-hit business travel by the end of next month and to forge ahead with multilateral trade deals, as they seek to strengthen ties ahead of the incoming Biden administration.

The announcement came as Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister wrapped up a visit to Japan on Wednesday, the first high-level delegation from Beijing since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office in September.

Before the pandemic, Chinese president Xi Jinping had been expected to make a state visit to Japan this year to cement a 2018 reset in bilateral relations, as Beijing moved to strengthen regional ties amid a spiralling spat with the US over trade, technology and security.

During the two-day visit, Mr Wang held meetings with Japan’s top leadership, including Mr Suga, foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi and chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato.

The Japanese ministers all raised concerns about incursions by Chinese vessels around the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands — which both countries claim — while nonetheless signalling that Tokyo is keen to improve its relationship with Beijing.

According to a statement by the Japanese government, Mr Suga told Mr Yang he was pleased about the resumption of business travel and wanted a “stable bilateral relationship”, but he raised the Senkaku issue, China’s ban on Japanese beef and the security crackdown in Hong Kong.

But Japan’s new prime minister is likely to want a strong economic relationship with China in order to help his country to recover from the Covid-19 shock, and he may therefore seek to play down the more contentious security relationship.

Earlier this month, US president-elect Joe Biden said Washington’s security guarantees extended to the disputed islands, in a sign that he would be willing to challenge China’s territorial claims in the region.

Zhou Yongsheng, an academic at the Institute of International Relations in China, said Mr Suga’s government would be smart to downplay the territorial dispute in the name of advancing the broader bilateral relationship. “This is an unsolvable problem and [raising it] will only intensify conflict,” he said.

He added that it “shows that Japan wants to protect its own interests independent of the US” and represented an opportunity to push forward regional trade deals. 

Mr Yang and his Japanese counterpart, Mr Motegi, also pledged fast progress on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact, one of the largest free trade deals in history, which was signed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations earlier this month.

Mr Xi this week expressed interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a move that would potentially give China even greater influence in regional trade as part of previously US-backed agreement abandoned by the Trump administration. Japan is already a member.

Additional reporting by Emma Zhou in Beijing

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China, Japan to lift restrictions on business travel

Nov. 24 (UPI) — China and Japan have agreed to “fast track” business travel between the two countries after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.

Wang, who is to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday, is on a weeklong tour of Japan and South Korea. On Tuesday, Wang addressed the issue of expediting travel, but also raised the issue of disputed islands in the East China Sea, VOA News reported.

“Some Japanese fishing boats that do not have knowledge about the truth have repeatedly entered sensitive waters” near the islands, Wang said, according to the report. “We will certainly continue to safeguard [Chinese] sovereignty.”

Beijing claims the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands as its own. In recent years, Chinese fishing boats have been chased out of Japan-claimed territorial waters, and Tokyo’s military have invested in new units to increase surveillance near the islands.

Expectations have been building in China for improved relations with Tokyo. Before the pandemic, the two countries were moving forward with plans for a summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Wang Guangtao, an associate research fellow at the Center for Japanese Studies at Fudan University, has said China could play a greater role in regional affairs, according to South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo.

The Chinese academic also said the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would allow China and Japan to operate in a free trade zone for the first time, according to Chinese state media Sunday.

On Wednesday, Wang Yi is to visit Seoul, but his trip comes at a time when China’s response during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic has soured South Korean opinion of Beijing, reflecting trends in other countries.

According to an October poll from Pew Research Center seven in 10 respondents in Japan and South Korea say China has done a poor job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Unfavorable views of China are at a historic high, the poll said.

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Japan, China Agree to Restart Two-way Travel by End November

(Bloomberg) — The foreign ministers of China and Japan agreed at a meeting in Tokyo to lift some virus-related travel restrictions by the end of the month, while also re-stating their differences over disputed islands in the East China Sea.



a room filled with luggage: Passengers rest next to social distancing signs displayed on seating at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. The global airline industry is facing a painfully slow recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic as carriers slash jobs and secure funds to ride out the crisis.


© Bloomberg
Passengers rest next to social distancing signs displayed on seating at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. The global airline industry is facing a painfully slow recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic as carriers slash jobs and secure funds to ride out the crisis.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi is the first senior Chinese official to visit Japan since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office in September. The two men are set to meet Wednesday, as China seeks to recalibrate its ties with key American allies ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next year. Wang then travels to South Korea for high-level talks in Seoul.

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Suga, who has little experience of diplomacy, must strike a delicate balance between the U.S., Japan’s only formal military ally, and China, its biggest trading partner. That task could be made more difficult by the pandemic, which forced the postponement of a state visit to Japan by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier in the year.

China Reaches Out to Key U.S. Allies After Biden Election

At the meeting Tuesday, Wang and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, agreed to restart some travel for businesspeople and residents before the end of November. Both ministers agreed that stable Japan-China ties are important for the region and the world, Motegi said.

How a Few Tiny Islands Put Japan and China in Dispute: QuickTake

Motegi also said he had pressed Wang for forward-looking action on the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Wang responded that China would continue to defend its rights over the isles. Tensions around the islands have worsened in recent months, with ships and planes from both countries frequently chasing one another.

The two ministers said they had also agreed on the following:

Setting up a defense hot line by the end of the yearRestarting a high-level economic dialogue at the appropriate time next yearCooperating on the Tokyo and Beijing OlympicsSharing expertise on the coronavirus, and establishing a framework for talks on climate change and a mechanism for agricultural tradeBringing the RCEP trade agreement into force quickly; moving forward on a trilateral trade deal with South Korea

(Updates with Wang trip to South Korea.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Japan to suspend domestic travel campaign in two cities: minister

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government is preparing to pause its domestic travel campaign in two cities following sharp rises in COVID-19 cases, the minister handling the government’s coronavirus response said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing protective face masks are seen, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Tokyo International Airport, commonly known as Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The move would be a blow to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s aim to use the Go To Travel campaign to prop up regional economies, while critics said the programme risked spreading the infection from major cities to the countryside.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said he hoped a final decision on the temporary exclusion of the cities of Osaka and Sapporo from the programme could be made later in the day.

“Infections are spreading and medical care is becoming tense, so I think it’s good to act as soon as possible,” Nishimura told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Nishimura said the two cities would initially be excluded for three weeks, during which time no new reservations could be made under the programme.

Suga said on Saturday the government would suspend new reservations under the Go To Travel programme for trips to hard-hit areas as new coronavirus cases have continued to rise nationally.

Suga has been trying to revitalise the hard-hit economy while keeping the spread of the coronavirus under control.

Osaka city in the west of Japan reported 171 new cases on Monday after seeing a record 286 cases the previous day, a city official told Reuters.

The city of Sapporo in the north reported 140 daily cases on Monday, below a record 197 cases reported on Thursday last week, a city official said.

The capital of Tokyo has seen new infections soar past 500 in recent days, and serious cases reached 51 on Tuesday, the most since a state of emergency was lifted in May.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters that there was a rise in infections among older residents, including cases where people had contracted the virus while eating out and brought it home to their relatives.

Reporting by Daniel Leussink, Chris Gallagher, Jack Tarrant and Rocky Swift; Editing by Kim Coghill and Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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Cases in Japan hit record amid holiday travel

TOKYO (AP) — The daily tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan hit a record for the fourth day at 2,508, the Health Ministry said Sunday.

Japan has had fewer than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far, avoiding the toll of harder hit nations. But fears are growing about another surge. A flurry of criticism from opposition legislators and the public has slammed the government for being too slow in halting its “GoTo” tourism campaign, which encouraged travel and dining out with discounts.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Saturday scrapped the campaign, but only after many people had already made travel reservations for a three-day Thanksgiving weekend in Japan.

Airports and restaurants have been packed. Some say the government should have offered to pay for cancellations, or stepped up PCR testing instead, if the goal is to keep the economy going amid a pandemic. Tutorials are circulating online on the proper way to eat and drink at restaurants while wearing masks.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India has registered 45,209 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours amid a festival season surge in the country’s capital and many other parts. At least three Indian states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — have imposed night curfews in many cities. The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 501 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 133,227. While the overall pace of new cases appears to be slowing, experts have cautioned that official figures may be offering false hope since many infections are undetected.

— South Australia and Victoria states eased COVID-19 restrictions Sunday as Australia heads into summer in a better position to fight the virus. Victoria, which was hardest hit, has gone 23 days without a new infection. In response, Premier Daniel Andrews announced a number of changes to restrictions. Mask-wearing outdoors, which until now has been mandatory, is no longer required where social distancing is possible. Masks will still have to be worn indoors and carried at all times. Home gatherings of up to 15 people will be allowed and up to 50 people can gather outdoors. Up to 150 people will be allowed at weddings, funerals or indoor religious services. Residents of South Australia emerged from a state-wide lockdown at midnight Saturday, and are now able to visit bars and restaurants in groups of up to 10 and host gatherings up of to 50 people with social distancing. Gyms and beauty salons can open and students will return to schools from Monday. The border between Victoria and New South Wales states, closed at the height of the Victoria outbreak three months ago, will reopen Sunday. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “We never want to see this ever again. We hope this is the last time that in our lifetime this border is closed.”

— Authorities are conducting mass testing and shutting down schools after China reported three new domestically transmitted cases in the past 24 hours — two in

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Japan to Suspend Domestic Travel Campaign in Virus Hotspots

(Bloomberg) — Japan will partially suspend the country’s “Go-To” domestic travel campaign in areas where coronavirus cases are increasing, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Passengers line up waiting to aboard an East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) Shinkansen the bullet train on a platform of Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 7, 2020. Mid-August is a traditional time for many Japanese to leave the densely populated cities and travel to meet family in rural areas. But reservations of the bullet trains over this year’s Obon period are at just 16% of last year’s, according to JR East.


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Passengers line up waiting to aboard an East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) Shinkansen the bullet train on a platform of Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 7, 2020. Mid-August is a traditional time for many Japanese to leave the densely populated cities and travel to meet family in rural areas. But reservations of the bullet trains over this year’s Obon period are at just 16% of last year’s, according to JR East.

Suga didn’t specify the places where the campaign will be suspended. New virus cases in Tokyo reached a daily record of 539 on Saturday.

Suga and his Cabinet gathered on Saturday to discuss the campaign, which had been a boost to the local economy with subsidies provided on travel and dining. The country’s virus task force had recommended that the government consider reviewing the program, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Friday.

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