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Business trends

Japan amid the pandemic: Pets, popcorn, bath salts and bug spray

Staying home creates a feel-good economy for certain consumer sectors

The changes brought to Japan by the spread of the coronavirus have allowed Akiko Saga to give in to an irresistible temptation of becoming a cat owner. (Photo by Makoto Okada) 

TOKYO -- In spring, as the spread of the coronavirus began to gain ground in Japan, Tokyo resident Eriko Teraoka suddenly began living a brand-new lifestyle. Her company had told her to work from home, and her 5- and 2-year-old daughters' day care center closed.

The girls quickly became glued to their tablets and YouTube videos, and Teraoka decided she needed to remedy the situation. On her elder daughter's birthday, Teraoka took the girls to a pet store and let them pick out a dog. They now take the pooch out for a walk every day to make up for some of the physical activity the pandemic took away from them.

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