Coronavirus Pushes Festival Street Vendors in Japan to Brink

Society

Nagoya, June 24 (Jiji Press)--The coronavirus outbreak has caused a host of cancellations of fireworks shows, "bon" dance events and other summer festivals across Japan, pushing festival street vendors and wholesalers to the brink.

On June 5, Shigenori Otomi, a 55-year-old resident of Ena, Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, and his 21-year-old son, Yusuke, opened a food stand selling "taiyaki" fish-shaped pancakes and shaved ice at a morning market in a shrine in Aichi Prefecture, neighboring Gifu. It was the first time for them to open a food stand at the monthly morning market.

"We had no income between March and May," the father said. "No arrangements for autumn festivals have been made, and we barely make ends meet with relief handouts."

According to a cooperative union of commerce for small businesses in Aichi, nearly 40 pct of some 600 member street vendors and others specialize in festivals, like Otomi.

Some members are relying on day jobs to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press