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China tour ban dampens spirits in Japan over Lunar New Year

Hotels slash prices to fill wave of vacancies amid virus outbreak

Drugstores on Osaka's Shinsaibashi-suji shopping avenue vie to attract Chinese tourists. (Photo by Jo Tamura)

TOKYO -- China's ban on outbound tour groups, a measure to contain the coronavirus outbreak there, has left tourism-reliant Japanese companies scrambling to make up for lost business and sapped vitality from places usually full of energy during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Hotel Ilfiore Kasai in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward has been inundated with cancellations for 1,100 room reservations in February -- roughly a third of all its reservations for the month.

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