Japan Lifts the State of Emergency

Japan has lifted the state of emergency, but will gradually return to normal. Cyber bullying has led a Terrace House member to her death. This could mean the end of the popular series for good.

May 30, 2020

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The State of Emergency has been lifted in Tokyo and Remaining Prefectures

The state of emergency has now been officially lifted country-wide. The government announced this Monday that Tokyo would be lifted from the state of emergency condition, but this will not equate to a complete return to normalcy. Governor Koike is encouraging the return to be done in four stages to make the process more controlled and gradual. The release of the state of emergency has moved Tokyo to stage one. Stage one will allow restaurants to stay open until 10 pm and institutions like museums and libraries to reopen. Schools are also starting back, but classes will be taken in rotation by groups of students. If infection numbers remain low, the stages will continue to go up, loosening conditions each time. The famous rainbow bridge of Odaiba was lit up to celebrate the lifting of the release, and, similarly to Osaka, it will be used to indicate the status of Corona in Tokyo. Should the need for emergency conditions arise again, the bridge will turn red.

Shinagawa station is seen crowded with commuters after Tokyo lifts the state of emergency.

The government is still strongly encouraging citizens to continue to avoid cramped areas, large crowds, and close contact. The continuation of wearing masks in public and teleworking or delayed commuting is also still recommended. While some companies are still allowing telework for their employees, it seems that the majority of Tokyo workers are being forced to once again begin daily commutes to the office. A recent survey on the number of commuters saw very high numbers around stations in Tokyo. Shinagawa station noted an over 300% increase in commuters in just one day. Statistically, Tokyo has seen a steady decrease in infections and deaths, but many fear that such a sudden return to daily life will lead to an inevitable second wave of infections.

Hana Kimura striking a pose in her signature wrestling outfit.

Pro Wrestler and Cast of Terrace House, Hana Kimura, Tragically Passes Away at 22

Tragedy struck this Saturday upon the confirmation of the passing of 22-year-old Hana Kimura. Hana was a passionate and rising star in the female wrestling world. Her recent appearance in the latest season of the hit Japan reality TV show, Terrace House, was helping to bring her career and the world of women’s wrestling into the spotlight. Unfortunately, that spotlight can carry a heavy burden. Hana was rumored to face heavy online bullying from viewers of the show, and a mid-season fight with another house member-only led to an increase in the hate messages. Since the news of her passing, hundreds of online fans have emphasized the real repercussions of online bullying and the fact that people often seem to forget that the people we see on screen are still human as well.

There has been a strong push for legal reform, and, likely, a law will soon be put in place to deter online bullying. The current Terrace House season has announced discontinuation, and there are rumors of Terrace House itself coming to an end. The relatability of its members is what makes the show a success, but this also puts ordinary people who have no experience with fame directly into the screens of millions of viewers. The pressures and criticisms that can come along with this would be difficult for anyone.

17-year-old Wataru explains his position for opposing Kagawa Prefecture`s ordinance.

Kagawa Ordinance Attempts to Limit Media Intake for those under 18

A young man who only wishes to go by Wataru is recruiting help from online patrons to stand against a unique ordinance from Kagawa Prefecture. The ordinance, which pertains to all those under 18 years of age, asks that gaming be limited to only one hour a day on weekdays and 90 minutes on holidays. It also advises that children between the ages of 12 to 15 should only use smartphones until 9 pm and those between 15 to 18 until 10 pm. Wataru argues that the amount of time playing games or on a smartphone is something that should be decided by each family, not by the government. Wataru`s online petition has already reached over 600 signatures opposing the ordinance. His lawyer is making the argument that this ordinance violates the constitutional right of self-determination.

A baseball game is played in an eerily empty stadium.

Japanese Baseball Scheduled for a Return, but with No Fans

Following the release of the state of emergency countrywide, Japanese professional baseball has been announced to return on June 19th. On Monday, league commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that the league would finally be able to start after being postponed since March. One condition of the return is that fans will not be allowed to be present during the games. Commissioner Atsushi stated that while the league is excited to begin games, they must move forward with carefulness and caution to protect players and fans.

Tokyo Tower looms at over 330 meters tall. The stairs to the top are a daunting challenge.

Tokyo Tower Reopens to Visitors After the Lifting of State of Emergency

After almost two months of being closed, Tokyo Tower reopened the observatory deck this Thursday. While visitors can now enjoy the view from the top, the tower is taking considerable measures to reduce the risk of infection, including temperature checks, face shields for staff, and floor markings to encourage distancing. The most critical measure to note is that the elevator to the 150-meter tall observation deck has been limited to 4 people at a time. For guests that don’t want to wait in line, there is nothing to worry about. Tokyo Tower has opened up its staircase, which consists of around 600 steps to the top. Now you can enjoy not only a fantastic view but intense exercise as well. All that effort to reach the top will make the view that much more appreciated. 

Hosts of This Week In Japan

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Christian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.

More articles by Christian Dakin

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