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Less crowded, but Tokyo loop train is far from empty

More residents need to stay home to reach government's distancing target

Passengers wearing masks ride a train in Tokyo on April 7.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Ridership on central Tokyo's Yamanote train line has fallen 35% on weekday mornings as Japan encourages more people to work from home, but is still far from achieving the government's target to cut person-to-person contact by 80%.

Japan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 4,000 nationwide. A range of nonessential businesses are expected to close across Tokyo and six other prefectures especially hit hard by the pandemic, but it remains to be seen whether the country can keep enough people home to contain the outbreak.

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