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Japan eases business restrictions despite COVID-19 risk

Public events to host more guests; restaurants return to normal hours

Tourists crowd a shopping street near Ise Shrine in western Japan: The government's "Go To Travel" campaign, aimed at reviving tourism despite the pandemic, has sparked criticism. (Photo by Koji Uema) 

TOKYO -- Restaurants and karaoke parlors in Tokyo's 23 wards were free to operate normally as of Wednesday, after authorities in the Japanese capital lifted their request that such businesses close no later than 10 p.m.

The early closure request for central Tokyo was originally set to run from Aug. 3 through Aug. 31 and later extended for two weeks.

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