Japan’s “state of emergency” declaration over Covid-19, applicable to only 7 of Japan’s 47 prefectures in its original form, will now be extended across the entire nation.
A number of factors appear to have gone into Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to make this move at the current juncture, including the steady rise of Covid-19 in all regions of Japan. Perhaps an even larger concern is that the population of Tokyo and other major cities, where the confirmed infections are highest, might flood into the more permissive countryside during the upcoming Golden Week holidays, thus spreading the coronavirus further out of control.
For the gaming sector, especially the pachinko industry, the impact is likely to be heavy. Should prefectural governors move overwhelmingly to request suspensions of pachinko hall businesses, this is something which many smaller firms, already struggling economically, may not be able to recover from.
There are roughly 9,000 pachinko parlors in Japan, most of them owned by small firms and the number being reduced year-by-year by the aging population and the preference among younger Japanese for mobile games.