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Restaurants in Japan face crackdown for skirting COVID curfews

Updated laws fine bars that stay open too late and individuals who resist contact tracing

A hot-pot restaurant in Tokyo closes early as requested by the municipal government.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan is stepping up its battle against the coronavirus, with revised legislation taking effect Saturday allowing for fines against violators of safety measures, including restaurants that refuse to shorten hours.

This marks a reversal from earlier measures relying on voluntary compliance. Japan is struggling to keep COVID-19 infections under control despite the state of emergency in place since January for such prefectures as Tokyo and Osaka. The emergency declaration has been extended to March 7.

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