HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) – Concise insights on global finance in the Covid-19 era.
DISH SERVED COLD. Japan’s contentious Covid-19 measures are sapping the patience of small businesses. Global-Dining shares surged as much as 42% this week after it sued the Tokyo government for ordering businesses to cut opening hours. The restaurant operator, whose Gonpachi eatery featured in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 1”, is seeking less than $1 in damages. People unhappy with the government’s pandemic response have rallied to the cause: besides the stock rally, Global-Dining crowdfunded its legal fees, Reuters reported.
Having lifted a state of emergency in certain areas on Sunday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is in a tight spot. Pressure to contain the virus ahead of the Olympics is enormous, but so is stimulating spending. Consumer prices in February fell year-on-year for the seventh straight month, while Japanese households hoarded a record 2 trillion yen in financial assets as of last year. Business curfews will sting in Greater Tokyo prefectures, which analysts at Capital Economics estimate generate a third of national output. (By Robyn Mak)
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