A COVID-19 vaccine clinic was held at an unlikely location in Kita-ku, Osaka, on September 13 and 14. A vaccination program for employees and residents was conducted for two days at the Freedom Tenroku Pachinko Parlor in Tenjinbashi-suji shopping district, known to be one of the longest shopping streets in Japan.
The move is part of a workplace initiative encouraging the vaccination of company employees and their families, and often including residents of the neighborhood around the company’s location. Yet even so, it’s quite unusual that the choice of venue for the vaccines would be pachinko parlors.
On any normal day, a cacophony of sounds from the slot machines dominates the shop. But on this day, people waiting to be inoculated sat quietly in front of the pachinko machines, one in every other seat to respect “social distancing”.
A man in his twenties working for a nearby manufacturer said, “It’s basically the first time that I have come into a pachinko parlor.”
Looking relieved, he added, “I finally got the vaccine.”
A total of 1,500 vaccines had been prepared for this day’s program, and all were booked up before September 14, the second day of the vaccination.
Shinjiro Naito (50) of Avance Co. Ltd., which manages the shop said, “a pachinko parlor tends to give a negative impression, but I’m glad I was able to contribute to the community.”
(Read The Sankei Shimbun story in Japanese at this link.)
Author: The Sankei Shimbun