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Suga faces make-or-break month with COVID-19 emergency extension

Olympics and upcoming elections raise stakes for Japan's pandemic response

Staff prepare to close an izakaya bar around 8 p.m. in Tokyo. Restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have dealt a heavy blow to Japanese businesses.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- After extending Japan's state of emergency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga now faces mounting pressure to bring COVID-19 under control quickly or risk jeopardizing the Tokyo Olympics and further harming the economy.

"I take full responsibility for not being able to lift the state of emergency in a month," Suga told lawmakers Tuesday, when he announced he would extend the state of emergency by another month. "I want to ask the Japanese people for their cooperation one more time."

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