KEY POINTS

  • Tokyo has been seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases
  • Authorities link the spike to nightlife and adult entertainment
  • Leaders have asked their citizens to refrain from using such services

Tokyo is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases and Japanese authorities have singled out the capital's nightlife districts as the growing source of coronavirus infections. In places like Kabukicho, the increase is feared to be related to adult entertainment in the area.

Specifically, most of the cases from the area were among women working in hostess clubs and the men that are scouting women for adult establishments. Naturally, the intimacy involved makes transmission much easier; hence, leading to a sharp increase in cases reported in late March.

Unfortunately, many of the infected from the area have been refusing to cooperate and divulge who they have been in contact with, fostering the fears that the actual number of cases may actually be much greater.

Shinjuku Ward Mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi noted that medical facilities in the area are already close to being overwhelmed. As a result, Yoshizumi has asked citizens from refraining from using such services.

According to the president of the Japan Association of Infectious Diseases, Kazuhiro Tateda, the coronavirus has "seriously" been spreading in nightlife districts such as Ginza, Roppongi, and Shinjuku.

"This is related to nightlife," Tateda said, according to the South China Morning Post. "This is a very busy district of nightclubs where people are close together and that is popular with middle-aged men."

So far, Japan has recorded over 2,400 COVID-19 cases, nearly 600 of which are from Tokyo. However, the Japanese government still has not enforced stricter measures just like the lockdowns being done in places like Hong Kong and Singapore despite people's calls for decisive action. 

According to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the virus has not spread "rapidly and widely" and enforcing such measures would restrict the people's rights. That said, Abe did state that lowering their guard even just a little could cause an acceleration.

"We continue to be on the brink," Abe said. "It's critically important to prevent a sharp rise in cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area with a large population, which is at the center of economic activity."

So far, Japan has conducted 274 tests per million people. By comparison, South Korea has conducted about 6,500 tests per million people.

Many hotel operators in Japan have seen bookings decimated by the virus Many hotel operators in Japan have seen bookings decimated by the virus Photo: AFP / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU