Japan announced on Thursday it is extending a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 other areas until the end of September as health care systems remain under severe strain, although new infections have slowed slightly.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said serious cases remain high and are still overwhelming many hospitals. He called on the people to continue to work remotely and other social distancing measures so that we can return to safe and prosperous daily lives. The extension will cover a period when Japan’s government is in transition. Suga has announced that he will not run in a Sept. 29 race for his party’s leadership, and his successor in that race will likely become the next prime minister.
His government has faced sharp criticism over virus measures seen as too late and too small to be effective and for holding the Olympics despite public opposition during the pandemic. We need to stabilise medical systems and make sure that infections are steadily decreasing, Economy and Fiscal Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.