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Most of Japan to reopen Thursday, but not big cities

Tourist destinations Hokkaido and Kyoto to remain closed

The Tokyo Skytree towers above Japan's capital, which will remain under a state of emergency. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- Japan is expected to bring an early end to the state of emergency on Thursday in 39 of its 47 prefectures, though greater Tokyo and Osaka will remain on the list of potential coronavirus hot spots.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to announce the move in the evening after a panel of experts accepted the government's proposal to end the emergency in the designated prefectures.

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