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Coronavirus

Duty free shopping data busts quarantine busters in Japan

Officials fail to take advantage of information exposing gaps in COVID controls

Japan requires anyone entering the country, regardless of nationality, to self-quarantine for two weeks. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO -- Signs of a hole in Japan's measures to lock down its borders against the coronavirus have been spotted in an unexpected place: a department store in downtown Tokyo's ritzy Ginza district.

An employee involved in analyzing customer data there began feeling a creeping sense of unease last fall. While looking at passport information from shoppers taking advantage of tax exemptions for non-residents, he noticed that some had come to the store not long after arriving in the country.

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