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Japan to extend COVID-19 state of emergency

Tokyo and nine other prefectures to remain on high alert for another month

With daily new infections still high in Tokyo, restaurants have been requested to close at 8 p.m.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is planning to extend its COVID-19 state of emergency that is set to expire on Feb. 7 for another month to March 7 for all prefectures currently covered except one, Nikkei has learned.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the emergency on Jan. 7 for the four prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba, and added the seven prefectures of Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu, Fukuoka and Tochigi on Jan. 13. Only Tochigi will be excluded from the extension.

The government will decide on Tuesday to extend the emergency based on six indicators, including the number of new infections per 100,000 people in the last week and an evaluation by experts.

In the case of Tokyo, the average daily number of newly infected people must be lower than 500 in order to lift the emergency. Although the number of infected people has recently started to decrease, it is still above 500.

According to a recent Nikkei public opinion poll, some 45% of respondents said the state of emergency should be extended in all areas where it is now in effect, with the same proportion saying it should only be extended in places experiencing an increase in infections. In total, 90% agreed that restrictions should be extended under some conditions, while only 6% said they should be lifted in all areas.

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