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Coronavirus

Tokyo governor to seek extension for COVID state of emergency

With decline in cases slowing, capital-area leaders favor two more weeks

Downtown Chiba in January: The slowing decline in COVID cases has raised concerns among the governors in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

TOKYO -- Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is preparing to ask the Japanese government to extend the coronavirus state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area, likely by about two weeks, sources told Nikkei on Tuesday.

The capital region has been under a second state of emergency since Jan. 7 in response to a third wave of infections in Japan.

With new cases no longer falling as quickly as they once were, the Tokyo metropolitan government and its neighboring three prefectures Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama on Wednesday will discuss an extension of the state of emergency beyond its current end date of Sunday.

There are predictions that the decline in new cases and other indicators "will not improve enough" by Sunday, Koike said.

Saitama Gov. Motohiro Ono and Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita also have expressed reservations about lifting the current state of emergency.

Restaurants and bars in the greater Tokyo area have been asked to close by 8 p.m. until Sunday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. An extended state of emergency could mean such businesses will be asked to cut their hours for longer.

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