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How Tokyo's 'Sleepless Town' is fighting the COVID taint

Kabukicho looks to claw back the crowds the pandemic has turned away

Tokyo's Kabukicho district is as famous as it is notorious, a neighborhood so full of night entertainment that it is often called a "sleepless town." (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- Tokyo's Kabukicho -- the city's sleepless red-light district full of restaurants, tiny bars, nightclubs and sex parlors -- has been no stranger to notoriety in its 70-year history. But it was COVID-19 that provoked the biggest backlash of all.

Adjacent to Shinjuku train station -- the world's busiest, with over 3.5 million passengers a day -- an early spike in COVID-19 cases saw the district become one of the epicenters of the disease in Japan, sparking withering public criticism.

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