Emergency lifted in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo
NHK -- May 22
Japan's government says it is lifting the state of emergency for three western prefectures -- Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo -- and it may do the same for the Tokyo metropolitan area and the northern prefecture of Hokkaido next week.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said, "We are lifting the state of emergency declaration for Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures. Tokyo, its three neighbors, and Hokkaido will remain under the state of emergency. But the number of new infections is steadily declining and the strain on the medical system is easing. Therefore, we will ask experts to evaluate the situation early next week, likely on Monday. If the situation remains the same, we may be able to lift the declaration for those prefectures."

Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo met the criteria set by the government for the emergency declaration to be lifted...which include the rate of new cases to be less than 0.5 per 100,000 people over the past week.

Officials say the prefectures also have sufficient medical supplies and monitoring systems in place.

People expressed mixed feelings about the move.

A man in Osaka says, "I'm a little worried. There is no guarantee that the number of infected people won't substantially increase going forward."

A man in Kobe says, "The situation here is stabilizing, so I think it's about time to revitalize the economy."

Officials reported 11 new cases in the capital on Thursday, and the daily increase has been on the downward trend.

But both Tokyo and its neighbor Kanagawa did not meet the criteria for the state of emergency to be lifted as of Wednesday.

Saitama and Chiba did, but officials are treating the four prefectures as one group. Hokkaido also did not meet the benchmark.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko says, "We need a little more effort so that we can achieve this standard."

People living in areas that remain under the state of emergency are being asked to refrain from non-essential outings. The declaration is due to expire at the end of this month.

39 other prefectures had the state of emergency lifted last week but officials are urging residents to reduce contact to prevent a second wave of infections.

In total, more than 16,500 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan. About 790 have died.

News source: NHK
May 25
Japan's government plans to lift the state of emergency remaining in place for five prefectures. It will present the decision to its coronavirus advisory panel on Monday. (NHK)
May 25
Japanese medical institutions are seeing a lightening in their coronavirus caseload, health minister Katsunobu Kato said Sunday, in yet another indication the government is set to imminently lift a state of emergency over the Tokyo metro area and Hokkaido. (Japan Today)
May 25
The Japanese capital suffered more than 200 excess fatalities from pneumonia and other coronavirus symptoms early in the outbreak, dwarfing the period's officially recorded 16 from the new disease. (Nikkei)
May 25
The local government in the city of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, has announced that a person who traveled from the Philippines had developed rabies — the first case in Japan in 14 years. (Japan Times)
May 25
Over 40 percent of the coronavirus-linked deaths in Osaka involve hospital infections, sources in the prefectural government told Jiji Press on Saturday. (Japan Times)
May 24
The sumo world is grappling with its latest crisis as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed the life of a 28-year-old wrestler and forced the cancellation of the sport's showpiece May tournament. (Japan Today)
May 24
Japanese tennis player Osaka Naomi earned more than 37 million dollars in the past year, becoming the highest-earning female athlete ever. (NHK)
May 23
A Japanese business daily apologized Friday after it erroneously reported that this year's Fuji Rock Festival, one of the largest outdoor music events in Japan, has been canceled. (Kyodo)
May 23
The government has set an additional criterion for foreign students hoping to receiving cash handouts of up to Y200,000 ($1,900) for students struggling financially amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, making only those in the top 30 percent of grades eligible. (Japan Times)
May 23
Three Japan Railways Group firms said Friday they plan to scale back cancellations of regular bullet train services ahead of a recovery in travel demand expected from the government's lifting of the state of emergency in many areas of the country. (Japan Times)