3 more prefectures to join state of emergency

NHK -- May 15
The Japanese government has decided to add Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures to a state of emergency from Sunday due to rising coronavirus cases.

The measure, which is already in place for six prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka, runs until the end of May.

The government is aiming to curb infections and ease the strain on medical systems. It also plans to speed up the nation's vaccination rollout.

On Friday, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said, "We will work closely with local governments in the areas under the state of emergency to implement strict anti-virus measures with a strong sense of urgency. Those measures include suspending serving alcohol or offering karaoke at bars and restaurants, as well as promoting remote working."

Suga also said it's important to take effective steps in line with the situation in each region, instead of nationwide measures.

Gifu Prefecture plans to ask the central government as early as Saturday to be added to the state of emergency due to a spike in cases.