“I’m grateful because I never had the chance to get vaccinated. I’ve never played pachinko in this parlor (laughs). (A housewife in her 40s who lives nearby said, “I thought it was a masterpiece that they don’t give balls in a pachinko parlor but give shots.
On September 13, a vaccination against the new coronavirus was held at Freedom, a large pachinko parlor located near the Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street in Osaka, said to be the longest in Japan. A total of 1,500 people were vaccinated, including members of the shopping arcade association and nearby residents. It is extremely unusual for a pachinko parlor to be the venue for vaccinations.
When the inoculation started at a little after 9:30 a.m., people who had made appointments entered the hall lined with more than 1,000 pachinko machines, sitting quietly in front of the machines one by one, waiting for their turn. Eventually, a doctor began to administer the vaccines one after the other, rolling a chair on casters. A timer was displayed on the pachinko table, and if there was no abnormality after 15 minutes of vaccination, the session was over.
The first vaccination is scheduled to take place on October 13-14, and the second on October 13-14, which means the store will be closed for four days. “Junki Hirakawa, president of Avance, the company that runs Freedom, explains the reason for providing the vaccination site.
“It was in June when we learned that the government was going to support the vaccination program in the workplace. It was in June that we learned that the government was going to support the vaccination program in the workplace, and we wondered what we could do to contribute to the community. The result was that we decided to use our stores for mass vaccination. Some of my acquaintances said to me in a cold tone, “How dare you do this?” But I didn’t mind, saying, “If we don’t do it now, there’s nothing we can do.
Pachinko parlors are conveniently located in populated areas and have ample parking space. They are also air-conditioned, so they are safe and secure. We lost less than 100 million yen during the four-day closure, but the social contribution is more important than that.
This magazine interviewed residents in the neighborhood who had been vaccinated, but few of them had ever used the store. However, all of them said, “We are grateful. I’d love to see them do it in other places,” they said.
Pachinko parlors have often been the target of criticism for spreading infection. The provision of the venue for the collection seems to have definitely improved their image.