April 23, 2020 / 11:28 AM / a month ago

Tokyo fights coronavirus by urging home tidy-up with Marie Kondo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Urging people to stay home to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the upcoming Golden Week holiday season in Japan, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike suggested they spend time watching the country’s tidying up guru Marie Kondo while stuck indoors.

Japanese author and creator of the KonMari Method to declutter, Marie Kondo, is interviewed by Reuters at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Film Interactive Festival 2017 in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 11, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files

Invested with emergency powers, Koike has asked people to confine themselves for 12 days, starting on Saturday.

Normally Tokyoites would flood out of their sprawling metropolis during Golden Week, which this year falls on April 29 to May 6, but Koike has dubbed it “Stay Home Week”.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a state of emergency, which gives governors in hard-hit prefectures more clout to ask residents to stay home and businesses to close, on April 7 for seven prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka, western Japan. There are, however, no penalties for refusing those requests.

Government and ruling party sources told Reuters earlier this week that a decision would be taken during Golden Week on whether to extend the emergency for longer.

Tokyo has been the hardest hit by coronavirus in Japan, with NHK reporting 134 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 3,573.

Koike has been at the forefront of a social distancing campaign in the capital, and for people staying home during the coming holiday period authorities have created a website where they can stream videos featuring celebrities.

“There will be people who think ‘alright, lets tidy up,’” Koike said, adding that KonMari, as Marie Kondo is known, “will give tidying up pointers” via a video.

The governor advised people to resist temptation to visit tourist sites around the capital, warning that facilities like the cable car at nearby Mount Takao would be shut.

Supermarket visits should be limited to once every three days, she said.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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