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Consumer

Japan's coronavirus axiom: the fewer the merrier

Latest round of self-restraint puts safety first and shuns big crowds

The Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka is being held without spectators for the first time ever. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

TOKYO -- Japanese consumers have come together to act on a shared feeling of self-restraint at least three times since 1988. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late last month requested that big sports and cultural events be canceled or postponed as a precaution against the new coronavirus, the mood descended upon the nation once again.

Japan's previous journeys into introspection came either when the emperor's health declined or after a devastating earthquake. And each time, Japanese acted out their self-restraint in a different manner.

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