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Japan extends COVID emergency 3 weeks as Olympic pressure mounts

Suga sets new deadline of June 20 -- one month before games begin

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he is "aware that many people have voiced their concerns and anxieties" about the Olympics but reiterates his vow to make them "safe and secure." (Photo by Arisa Moriyama)

TOKYO -- Japan has officially extended the coronavirus emergency in Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20, roughly a month before the scheduled start of the Olympics on July 23.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government made the call on Friday, out of concern for scarce hospital beds and the need to control virus variants. The move buys time to accelerate Japan's vaccination campaign and prepare a safer environment for the Tokyo Games, which have sparked widespread opposition.

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