Japan Expected to Extend State of Emergency, Local Media Says

The Japanese government is expected to extend the state of emergency for another month for Tokyo and other prefectures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The government will decide to extend the one-month state of emergency to expire on Feb. 7, after declaring it for 11 of the 47 prefectures last month.

Citing a source close to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, The Japan Times reported that the government is considering the extension for eight of the 11 prefectures where  the virus continues to spread — Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kangawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka.

The government will also examine if it will add the Okinawa prefecture to the areas covered by the state of emergency as the virus continues to spread on the remote islands, the Japan Times reported.

A poll from Nikkei newspaper showed that 90% of respondents are in favor of the extension in the areas covered by the emergency state.

Policy Chief Hakubun Shimomura of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said on TV on Jan. 31 that “strong economic measures” will be necessary if the government extends the emergency state because the pandemic “has not been put under control.”

Local media also reported that the government may also consider lifting the emergency state in some less populated prefectures where there have been a decrease of COVID-19 cases, such as the Tochigi prefecture.

The reports come a day after Japanese officials confirmed 2,673 new COVID-19 cases.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Japan has recorded a total of 387,499 cases and 5,688 deaths since the pandemic began last year.

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