Japan to end state of emergency for six prefectures this month: media

Japan to end state of emergency for six prefectures this month: media
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians wearing protective masks amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way in Tokyo, Japan, February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government will end a state of emergency in all but Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures at the end of this month, a week earlier than scheduled, public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.

Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka prefectures will all see their emergency coronavirus measures lifted, NHK said.

The government had placed 11 of Japan’s 47 prefectures under a state of emergency in January as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. One of those prefectures, Tochigi, had already emerged early from the government-designated emergency state.

Coronavirus infections have declined significantly across the country since peaking in early January, including in the capital, Tokyo, and the government is hoping to lift the state of emergency in the remaining four prefectures as planned on March 7, NHK said.

Under the latest measures, Japan has asked bars and restaurants to close by 8 p.m. and companies to strive for more telecommuting. It has also suspended a popular “Go To Travel” subsidised tourism programme.

Japan has so far recorded about 426,000 coronavirus cases and 7,645 deaths as of Feb. 24, according to the health ministry.

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