TOKYO (AP) — An express train bound for the Narita International Airport departed Tokyo Station on time at 5:33 p.m. with only one passenger.
That same night, there was only one international flight listed on the departures board, to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Every other outbound international flight was canceled.
The new normal brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports can handle more than 100 million passengers a year. The airports were set to welcome people from all over the world. Now, roughly one-third the world’s countries are on Japan’s banned entry list. Those that do make it to Tokyo arrive in rain ponchos or protective suits with goggles and gloves.
The cavernous terminals, already decorated in the Olympics’ colors, logos and mascots, are virtually silent. Rare footsteps and rolling suitcases echo throughout the buildings.
An animation promoting Tokyo 2020 still plays on large display boards. The videos should be running, not for the almost 100 days until the cauldron was to be lit during the opening ceremonies, but for another year and three-plus months until the postponed Games are set to open.