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Only a month ago, Japan was still holding onto hopes of hosting the Olympics, as it had managed to keep coronaviruses cases unusually low. But as cases started to spike, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pinned the blame on foreigners and banned travel from 73 countries — with devastating effects on the residents and businesses of Mt. Yoshino.

Normally packed every spring with tens of thousands of tourists taking in the sakura, or cherry blossoms, the area had a 90 percent drop-off in visitors.