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Japan regions push to end state of emergency as COVID-19 cases fall

Japan regions push to end state of emergency as COVID-19 cases fall
February 24, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) - Regional Japanese governments have requested emergency pandemic measures be lifted ahead of the March 7 scheduled end as new COVID-19 cases trend lower, the country’s economy minister said, adding the government will seek expert views before agreeing.

A surge in cases prompted Japan to announce a state of emergency last month for 11 prefectures, requesting residents to curtail activities and businesses to shorten operating hours.

Japan recorded 1,083 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, national broadcaster NHK reported, compared with a peak of almost 8,000 on Jan. 8. New infections in Tokyo have fallen to levels not seen since November.

Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures will remain under the state of emergency, Nishimura said.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will meet government ministers on Wednesday to discuss lifting the state of emergency in the six regional prefectures, with a final decision expected on Friday, Jiji news reported citing unidentified government sources.