Japan’s second largest city also tells people to stay in their homes during the period.

On Wednesday night, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike asked residents of Japan’s capital to remain home as much as possible over the coming weekend in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Now, one day after Tokyoites were told to stay in their homes, people in all four of its neighboring prefectures are being told to stay out of the city.

Tokyo is already the largest city in Japan, but its population temporarily swells even higher every day. In Saitama and Chiba, the prefectures that border Tokyo to the north and east, many of the largest population pockets function as bedroom communities of Tokyo. On a typical weekday, for example, 930,000 Saitama residents commute into Tokyo, a larger group than the conquering army of Atilla the Hun, and even on the weekends, people living outside the city limits swarm into Tokyo for leisure and entertainment.

Because of that, Koike feels that putting a lid on the coronavirus isn’t something that Tokyo can accomplish on its own. On the same night that Koike was imploring Tokyoites to stay home this weekend, she also spoke with Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono, saying that cooperation from Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures is a necessity. So on Thursday afternoon Ono asked that Saitama residents refrain from all non-essential travel into Tokyo over the weekend. The request was echoed by Chiba’s prefectural government as well as that of Yamanashi Prefecture, which borders Tokyo on the capital’s west edge.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo’s neighbor to the south, Kanagawa Prefecture, governor Yuji Kuroiwa has gone one step further, Kuroiwa has asked that people in Kanagawa, which contains both Yokohama (Japan’s second-largest city) and Kawasaki (which has roughly 1.5 million residents) refrain from leaving their homes for anything other than urgent, essential reasons throughout the weekend.

So it’s looking like a weekend at home for much of Japan’s eastern Kanto region. It’s a shame that it’s happening just as the cherry blossoms are blooming, but at least there are some clever ways to enjoy the sakura without ever leaving your living room.

Sources: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Hachima Kiko, Kyodo via Jin, Tokyo Shimbun, Kyodo (2), Yahoo! Japan News/Sankei Shimbun
Top image: Pakutaso
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