Japan mulls transition from state of emergency

-- Jun 17
The Japanese government is expected to decide on Thursday to lift the coronavirus state of emergency currently issued for 10 prefectures except Okinawa.

The emergency measure is set to end Sunday.

The government is considering ending the emergency and replacing it with rigorous measures involving focused steps to contain the virus. They would be applied in seven of the 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and Hokkaido, till July 11.

It would be the first time for the state of emergency to be replaced by less-stringent intensive anti-virus measures.

The state of emergency in Okinawa will be extended till July 11 as the medical system there remains acutely strained.

Currently, five prefectures are placed under intensive anti-virus measures. They will be lifted in Gifu and Mie prefectures on Sunday, but extended to July 11 in the three prefectures surrounding Tokyo, namely Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.

The government plans to consult a panel of experts on Thursday before formally adopting the policy at the government task force.

The government plans to keep the capacity limit for large events at 5,000 in prefectures under a state of emergency or intensive anti-virus measures.

Even after the measures are lifted, officials are considering capping attendance at 10,000 as a transitional measure.

Based on the plan, final arrangements are underway to hold the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games with spectators in attendance.

The government plans to consult the organizing committee of the Tokyo Games and others how to deal with the number of spectators.