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Food & Beverage

Japanese restaurants hit hard by new state of emergency

Watami and other izakaya chains close until February amid COVID-19 surge

A Kushikatsu Tanaka restaurant sits closed in Tokyo on Jan. 14. Kushikatsu Tanaka Holdings has decided to close 108 eateries until early February. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Japanese restaurant chains are facing new headwinds from a state of emergency the government has declared to cope with a surge in COVID-19 infections.

The municipal governments of Tokyo and other major cities requested the declaration, which is expected to last until Feb. 7. Restaurants are being asked to close by 8 p.m., but compliance is largely voluntary, with no effective punishments for not heeding the curfew.

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