A man and a woman walk on rocks in the Odaiba district of Tokyo on Thursday. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
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Japan to lift Tokyo area state of emergency as planned on Sunday

25 Comments
By Chang-Ran Kim

The Japanese government's advisory panel on coronavirus measures approved on Thursday a plan to let the state of emergency expire in the Tokyo area as scheduled on March 21, while the capital's governor warned citizens not to let down their guard.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had flagged the move on Wednesday, saying the availability of hospital beds had improved in Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures, where restrictions have remained since early January.

"There was no objection to the plan," Economy Minister Yasuhisa Nishimura, who also heads Japan's coronavirus response, said after a meeting with the advisory panel.

He added, however, that experts noted that infections had been creeping up in recent days, and that a resurgence was bound to occur.

While under pressure to bring COVID-19 under control ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, the government is eager to jumpstart economic activity in the Greater Tokyo area, whose 36 million residents account for 30% of Japan's population.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has plunged from a peak in early January, when the third and most deadly wave of the pandemic swept the country. But the daily tally for Tokyo remains far from Governor Yuriko Koike's target of reducing the seven-day average to 70% or lower than the preceding week.

On Wednesday, the capital reported 409 cases, compared with a peak of 2,520 on Jan. 7, but the highest since mid-February.

"(The state of emergency will be lifted) on the 21st, but does that mean anything goes after that? No, it doesn't, and we have to see it as entering a new stage," Koike told reporters.

"The first drop of vaccines for (Tokyo's) 14 million has only just begun, and until we're done, we have to fight with our bare hands," she said.

While other parts of the country lifted the emergency status at the end of February, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures extended it, with officials saying they wanted to see a continued decline in infections and hospitalizations.

Under the curbs, restaurants and bars are asked to close by 8 p.m and companies to allow more telecommuting.

After the lifting of the emergency, the four prefectures will ask eateries to close by 9 p.m., at least until the end of March, to reduce the chance of a resurgence in infections, Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa said on Wednesday.

So far in Japan, roughly 449,000 people have tested positive and 8,715 have died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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The numbers are going back up, so sure ~ Why not lift the State Of Emergency? What could possibly happen?

; ^ 0

0 ( +10 / -10 )

No more compensation for bars and restaurants many will go under its going to be a rough year..But look at the bright side there is Hanami and if we are lucky little children we even might get fireworks..and don't forget those ever-precious Olympics that have to be held..

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The Japanese government's advisory panel on coronavirus measures approved

The yes-men rubber stamped (literally). I don't even know why they even bother with the charade.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I dont think the S.O.E was effective....its just people cooperation and discipline....instead of imposing state of emerģency in coming future gov should focus on educating people and request them to do things which are compulsory like wearing masks, washing hands frequenltly and refraining from crowded places as far as possible.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"There was no objection to the plan," Economy Minister Yasuhisa Nishimura, who also heads Japan's coronavirus response, said after a meeting with the advisory panel.

There is more opposition in a CCP meeting.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But the daily tally for Tokyo remains far from Governor Yuriko Koike's target of reducing the seven-day average to 70% or lower than the preceding week.

I don't know why they even bother announcing targets. They are completely meaningless, just like any of the other half-arsed measures in the past year.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Predictably they ended it - it's clear the numbers have not been coming down the last 3 weeks, so the SOE has reached the limit of its usefulness in being able to get the numbers down further. Obviously the numbers will now head back up, but I guess the government is just hoping there wont be an explosive surge again.

I don't think they have any plan on how to stop another surge, but because they have from the very beginning, taken whack-a-mole approach to this pandemic, its not surprising they are now just basically throwing in the towel and hoping for the best.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

"There was no objection to the plan," Economy Mini...

Yeah, I bet. Maybe because of 出る釘は打たれる.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The delicate calling of the moment an emergency no longer is one ?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But the daily tally for Tokyo remains far from Governor Yuriko Koike's target of reducing the seven-day average to 70% or lower than the preceding week.

Koike is absolutely hopeless - she sets all these targets (some of which she ignores if it suits), but her only strategy on achieving them is her repeating ad nauseam to wash your hands and remember the three C's. Oh, she also likes to hold up cards with silly catch phrases on them, like she's trying to explain something to a child.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It brings an even higher meaning to Spring, on the bright side (which is saying a lot in Japan)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We've been able to get on with our lives not too badly here without Covid getting out of hand, I'm happy with that. Only been out of Tokyo once in over a year though so I'm looking forward to getting out and about when vaccinated.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is essentially total capitulation to the virus.

What we tried hasn't worked, we cannot go on like this anymore, as we need to start letting people in for the preparations for the Olympics starting in April.

A complete failure of the government that's costing 50+ lives daily. And none of them will be held accountable for it.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Don't think government of any other " developed" country comes anywhere near the incompetence and decision paralysis J-govt has displayed since corona arrived in Japan and the cruise ship fiasco got the ball rolling....it's only due to the world renowned apathy and reluctance of J public to display anything more than token disapproval to the LDP clowns handling of this that this govt is still intact. Anywhere else they,d be shown the door long ago, useless leeches. TIJ.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

What comes down, must go back up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A complete failure of the government that's costing 50+ lives daily

Here are the number of deaths in Tokyo alone from 2000 to 2019. 120,870 deaths in 2019 alone (so before the COVID-19), that's thousands per day. And you are saying that 50+ deaths daily from COVID-19 are significant enough to justify what kind of action exactly? Makes no sense, it's totally irrational and quite silly to be honest. Or maybe you decided somehow that death is not acceptable anymore.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1012479/japan-number-deaths-tokyo/

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

So how about GoTo? I have a trip planned that I would appreciate the discount on.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

What a great decision. . . NOT!

Spring vacation, parties and much more coming up. Hope the numbers will stay below 1.000!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What a smart virus. It only comes out at night, and in small businesses. But it does not spread in crowded trains, buses, shopping malls, etc. And the high visiting dignitaries are exempted from the quarantine.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Right before hanami season, Japanese people can now think 'we are safe'.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A ridiculous decision. And who are these people using Go To Travel? Stop being so selfish. You don't need to travel right now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There will be very little in way of hanami. The trees are being fenced and parks boarded.

Its not a full back to normal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why not? The people have been treating things like it's "back to normal" for a while anyway.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The numbers are going back up, so sure ~ Why not lift the State Of Emergency? What could possibly happen?

Tell us How you think Covid only roams around after 8pm. Please, enlighten me.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Finally, this insanity comes to an end.

Restaurants are crowded as hell these days, because everyone has to go before 7:30 when they shut down. In what universe does that help stop a virus infection?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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