Bullet trains cut by 40% to Hokkaido, other Japan destinations

TOKYO — East Japan Railway will slash high-speed bullet train service by about 40% indefinitely as the country’s coronavirus outbreak disrupts plans by business travelers and tourists.

The service cuts begin May 28 on shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo and northern Japan, the railroad operator known as JR East said Wednesday.

The reductions will affect service to destinations including Hokkaido and Kanazawa.

Japan’s government on Thursday is expected to lift its state of emergency in most regions, but Tokyo and Hokkaido are among those that will remain under travel and business restrictions.

JR East trains will be reduced on the Tohoku,

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Coronavirus casts shadow over Japan’s bullet train operators

TOKYO — Japan’s bullet trains may be an icon of the country’s technological prowess, but the shift to remote working and a prolonged downturn in travel brought on by the coronavirus threaten to sidetrack the high-speed services and the Japan Railways Group companies that operate them.

The famously sophisticated and profitable shinkansen, as the bullet trains are known in Japanese, offer fast, comfortable transport across the country for business and leisure travelers. But these days the bullet trains as well as conventional lines are running virtually empty as the government labors to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The shinkansen, which

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