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Coronavirus

Japan to extend Tokyo area state of emergency until March 21

Metropolitan government sets own targets to request emergency withdrawal

Commuters wearing protective masks make their way at Shinagawa station in Tokyo.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will extend the state of emergency in the capital Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba for two weeks until March 21.

"I would like to consult with you on extending the period [of the emergency declaration] until March 21," Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister of state for economic and fiscal policy, said Friday morning at a meeting with health experts.

The current state of emergency expires on Sunday. This will be the second extension of the declaration, which originally went into effect on Jan. 7.

After the experts approve, the extension will be made official by the government's coronavirus task force. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will hold a press conference later Friday and explain the reason for the extension.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has separately set its own numerical targets that must be achieved before relaxing restrictions, including the seven-day average of new cases at around 140 or below and the number of hospitalized patients at around 1,000 or below, Nikkei has learned.

Only when these targets are met in Tokyo, or are soon expected to be, will the metropolitan government ask the central government to withdraw the state of emergency, sources said. The seven-day average stood at 269.1 on Thursday, down from 279.7 a week ago.

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