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Japan's megacities shut down in crucial weekend to fight virus

All people urged to stay at home as confirmed cases shoot up

People walk in empty street in Shibuya on March 28. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Japan enters a critical weekend to prevent an explosive expansion of COVID-19, with stores, restaurants and amusement parks closed and residents of the country's two biggest population centers urged to stay home.

Five prefectures in the greater Tokyo area, including the capital itself, and Osaka have called for people to avoid going out unnecessarily on Saturday and Sunday.

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