Tokyo restaurants outraged by new alcohol ban


Owners of some restaurants and bars in Tokyo are outraged as they will be forced to suspend alcohol service again amid a new COVID-19 state of emergency.

The owners are complaining about what they see as government-imposed double standards in banning alcohol while allowing the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead as planned.

“I think if they are going to do the Olympics, we should be allowed to operate as well,” said Takahide Akutsu, director of a izakaya pub in the Bunkyo district. “It’s hard to take it even if they tell me to.”

Akutsu said alcohol is a major factor attracting customers to the pub, and sales will drop if it cannot be served.

Tokyo will be under a state of emergency from Monday to August 22, a period that includes the entire duration of the Olympics.

“It’s a shock that you can’t serve alcohol,” said Masahiko Yamashina, owner of a Yakitori chicken kebab restaurant in the Shimbashi district of the capital. “The last time we stopped serving alcohol, a customer berated us.”

“There is a lot to be lost by obeying the ban,” he added.

An izakaya in Shimbashi plans to continue serving alcohol during the state of emergency. Owner Yuka Fujishima said the audience was “sacrificed for the Olympics”.

“The government’s responses are made on a whim,” Fujishima said. “I will protect myself.”

A 51-year-old man from Nakano Ward said: “I think the government wants to reduce the number of infections to run the Olympics no matter what.” He said: “I really don’t understand why restaurants and bars are restricted, but the Olympics can go on.”

While Tokyo Olympics organizers, the government and other relevant bodies agreed on Thursday that not all venues in the capital will have spectators, those with tickets expressed frustration at the government’s response. .

The decision was made just two weeks before the games opened.

Kazunori Takishima, who has nearly 100 tickets to the Olympic events, said, “I worked hard to make myself available for the events.

The government’s response is “too late,” said Takishima, who runs a real estate company in the Shibuya district.

A woman in her 30s who has a ticket to a women’s football game has expressed her disappointment. “I was excited about this since I won the ticket,” she said.

Student Taichi Nagao said the COVID-19 crisis has been prolonged due to weak government measures.

“I don’t think the latest declaration (of a state of emergency) means anything,” Nagao said.

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