Japan: One out of five bars will close forever

Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, one of Japan’s largest brewing groups and the world’s third-largest whisky maker, predicts that more than one out of five bars and restaurants could fail due to the corona pandemic. “If you ask me how much will return, I’d say roughly, around 80 percent will be back,” Niinami told Reuters in an interview.

"I think it would be good to have 80 per cent of them return, although of course I really want 100 per cent back," he said. "Given the current coronavirus situation, what I'd like to see is for them to make it through the next two to three years until we can allow for more noisy, intimate get-togethers."

Japan has so far managed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak without imposing a nationwide lockdown. On May 25, the state of emergency was lifted nationwide and many restaurants are reopening with caution and with limiting seating and opening hours.

The trend of daily new infections has been showing a downward trend for some time, but recently there have been several new clusters in nightlife and in hospitals. Japan has more than 17,000 infections and 903 deaths, which is comparatively low given the population of more than 126 million people and the high proportion of older people in Japan.

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