Japan to lift state of emergency in Tokyo area on Sunday

Nikkei -- Mar 17
The Japanese government will lift the state of emergency in the capital region on March 21, as the pressure on hospitals in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures ease and more beds become available.

"I will propose to the advisory council tomorrow to lift the state of emergency," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Wednesday. Suga added that hospital bed availability has improved after the state of emergency was declared in January.

The government's coronavirus advisory council will meet on Thursday to discuss plans to lift the emergency. If approved, the government's task force will officially end the emergency declaration and follow with a news conference by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to explain the reasoning behind the decision.

The state of emergency was declared in January and extended twice for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures, while emergencies in seven other prefectures were lifted in February in stages.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Tuesday that the government was closely monitoring hospital bed availability. As of Monday, 40% of hospital beds were occupied in Chiba prefecture and 38% in Saitama prefecture, both of which are in a declining trend. The number was 25% in Tokyo and 26% in Kanagawa.

The government will continue to ask restaurants and bars to close earlier than usual at 9 p.m. even after the lifting of the state of emergency to ensure that the virus is kept in check. Large events will be also be restricted.

- Nikkei

首都圏の1都3県で実施されている緊急事態宣言について菅総理大臣は、予定通り3月21日で全面解除する方針を表明しました。 - ANNnewsCH