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Food & Beverage

Kanpai! Japanese bars cheer return of booze

Despite limits, customers flock back to watering holes in Tokyo and Osaka

Patrons enjoy drinks at an izakaya pub in Tokyo on June 21. Under new guidelines, Tokyo and Osaka have asked bars to serve alcohol only to parties of up to two, and only until 7 p.m. (Photo by Karina Noka)

TOKYO -- Japan's lifting of the coronavirus state of emergency in areas including Tokyo and Osaka has brought alcohol back to bars and restaurants, to the relief of both drinkers and businesses battered by lockdowns.

Customers were drinking Monday afternoon at restaurants in Tokyo's Ameya Yokocho shopping district. An 86-year-old from the Tokyo suburb of Chofu ordered a mug of beer and a bowl of rice topped with sashimi. The man received his second vaccine dose early this month, and "got the urge to drink beer today," he said.

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