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Japanese shun city centers as coronavirus fears set in

Night population falls 50% in Ginza while office areas see 20% drop during day

Big companies are having staff work from home, stagger commutes and cut back on after-work revelry, moves which have lessened crowds but hammered restaurants and other businesses.

TOKYO -- The new coronavirus is emptying city centers in Japan, with nighttime populations shrinking by half and office districts seeing 20% fewer people during the day, according to a Nikkei analysis.

Businesses had already been asked to change work routines before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. Now, the spread of the new coronavirus has prompted companies to speed work reforms.

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