JR East announced on April 26 that it will be reducing the number of trains it operates in the Tokyo metropolitan region during commuting hours between April 29 and May 9 to support the government’s third COVID emergency declaration.
Specific details are expected to be announced by JR East and major private railway companies on April 27.
The government’s emergency declaration will be effective for Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa for 17 days through May 11 in a bid to stem infections during the Golden Week holidays from late April to early May.
JR East has already said that it plans to reduce the number of trains it runs on seven major lines, including the Yamanote and Chuo Rapid, on April 30 and May 6 and 7.
The Tokyo metro government requested that JR switch to a Saturday and holiday schedule for weekdays during the third emergency period, but the company decided instead to reduce the number of trains it operates during weekday commuting hours. The seven affected lines are the Yamanote, Chuo Rapid, Ome, Chuo Sobu, Keihin Tohoku/Negishi, Joban Rapid, and Keiyo.
During the second state of emergency (SOE) issued in January, the departure time of the last train was also moved forward, but the government has not requested such a change for the current SOE.
Also, due to the short amount of time between the declaration of the SOE and the implementation period, train schedules and transfer times will not be updated in online apps but will instead be posted on bulletin boards at relevant stations.
JapanToday reported that crowds of commuters were seen Monday morning, April 26, in areas under the third coronavirus state of emergency despite the government’s calls for companies to implement remote working to curb the spread of the virus.
Under the tougher measures implemented in the third state of emergency, large commercial facilities, theme parks, movie theaters, karaoke establishments and restaurants serving alcohol have been asked to close.
Sporting events are to be held without spectators and department stores in the designated SOE areas will only sell food and other daily essentials.
Japan’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 10,000 on April 26, with the tally reaching 10,025 as of 6 p.m. The figure was a sharp increase from March 26 when the death toll passed 9,000.
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