TOKYO — The roller coasters are back running in Tokyo but with requests to not scream. Restaurants are offering more take-out and outdoor seating. Major retailer Uniqlo’s new “cool and dry” mask, three for 990 yen ($9), sold out Friday shortly after it was put on the shelves.
Japan’s economy is opening cautiously, with social-distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The delicate “new normal” balancing act playing out around the world is precarious but imperative for Japan, whose long stagnant economy sorely needs tourism, exports and thriving small businesses to avoid sliding deeper into recession.
Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said although Japan’s coronavirus restrictions were never as strict as the lockdowns in the U.S., Europe and some other parts of Asia, the damage was still considerable.
Japan’s economy was already hurting from a tax increase last year. Then auto exports to the U.S. and Europe plunged…
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