Off-base businesses in Japan feel the squeeze of US military’s anti-virus measures

Venus Resto Bar near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, sits empty March 30, 2020. CHRISTIAN LOPEZ/STARS AND STRIPES
Venus Resto Bar near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, sits empty March 30, 2020. CHRISTIAN LOPEZ/STARS AND STRIPES

Off-base businesses in Japan feel the squeeze of US military’s anti-virus measures

by James Bolinger and Aya Ichihashi
Stars and Stripes

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Junki Kaku, the owner of Poem and Good Fellows, two bars in downtown Iwakuni, pointed to the empty streets of the Naka Dori district on St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s like martial law here,” he said. “There’s no one.”

Normally, American service members from nearby MCAS Iwakuni would be swarming Poem. It’s the only place in Iwkauni to get Guinness beer on draft, and Kaku plays American football and wrestling on his big screen TV to keep the Americans entertained.

His businesses rely heavily on the Marines and sailors, but in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent base lockdowns, he and other proprietors across Japan who count on American customers are feeling the squeeze.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.625109

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