TOKYO — The rickshaw men in Tokyo are adding English-speaking staff, a sure sign Japan is bracing for a return of tourists from abroad. Japan’s border controls to curb the spread of coronavirus infections began gradually loosening earlier this month. That’s great news for Yusuke Otomo, owner of Daikichi, a kimono rental shop in Asakusa, an old district of Tokyo famous for its temples, quaint restaurants and rickshaw rides. He can barely contain his excitement. “Those were a hard three years. But we managed to endure until today. And after such an experience, to think people from abroad can finally come back is simply thrilling,” Otomo told The Associated Press.“I’m thinking that maybe, just as before COVID, my shop, the city of Asakusa and everyone’s hearts can flourish again. I can’t wait.” Before the pandemic, Asakusa was so brimming with foreigners they sometimes outnumbered the Japanese. After the coronavirus struck, the streets were deserted. “Not a soul in sight,” he said sadly. Some kimono rental stores folded. Restaurants were shuttered. The crowds are finally back with a gradual relaxing of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions, which called for restaurants to close early and people to social distance and limit attendance at


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