Tacnom is a Japanese video chat website designed for hosting virtual drinking parties Photograph:( Reuters )
Drinking parties known as 'nomikai' are seen by many Japanese as essential to building strong relations and bonds among friends and workmates.
An online drinking party service has gained popularity after the Japanese government urged people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched during the mounting scare over the coronavirus, the service "Tacnom", meaning "drink at home" allows users to easily create a video chatroom and conduct virtual drinking parties even as bars and pubs remain shut.
The service attracted 2.4 million users in its first two months.
''I really didn't expect this impact and I'm extremely happy,'' Takashi Kiyose, chief executive of Tacnom's operator 1010 Inc said.
''I hope our service can help users meet people they cannot see now. I would be very happy if their time at home due to self-restraints from going out will be enriched," Kiyose added.
Drinking parties known as "nomikai" are seen by many Japanese as essential to building strong relations and bonds among friends and workmates.
Tacnom does not require downloads or registrations unlike other online video platforms, but its users can create a URL link and share with their friends to join virtual gatherings of up to 12 people.
Japan remains under a state of emergency until end of May. The move allows local municipalities to urge people to stay inside, but without punitive measures or legal force. The country has reported about 15,000 COVID-19 cases, and 633 deaths from the virus.