Life in Japan returning to normal

NHK -- Oct 17
It's been two weeks since a coronavirus state of emergency ended in Japan. A semblance of normalcy is slowly returning across the country as the number of new COVID cases in most prefectures has dropped.

Residents of the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture held a Coming of Age Day ceremony.

An evacuation order for the town following the 2011 nuclear accident was only partially lifted in 2019. This year's ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in January. But it had to be put off twice due to the pandemic.

This is the first time in ten years that a ceremony has taken place in the town.

One of the new adults who took part made a speech during the ceremony.

He said, "There are people who work hard to make things the way they are. We, the young people who have just come of age, should follow in the footsteps of such people so we can play our own role."

The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases around the country stands at about 630. It is the lowest level so far this year. The figure has declined for seven weeks in a row.

However, an expert says it's important to stay vigilant.

Tateda Kazuhiro, Professor at Toho University, says, "With fall and winter approaching, infections could surge again due to seasonal factors. I am looking into the rate of vaccinations and wonder whether it will rise to 80 percent. It's important that people continue following preventive measures whether or not they have been inoculated."

The number of confirmed cases in Japan on Saturday was just over 500. The number of deaths was 13. The number of seriously ill patients was 335, down 22 from Friday.