Japan Lifts State of Emergency in 39 Prefectures (Updated)
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Japanese government announced on Thursday that it will lift the state of emergency early in 39 of the country's 47 prefectures. The remaining eight prefectures that will remain in a state of emergency are Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Hyogo, and Hokkaido. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will finalize the plan alongside an expert panel, and will announce it at a press conference at 6:00 p.m. JST later Thursday.
The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that it would determine on Thursday whether to lift the state of emergency early over a majority of the country's prefectures.
Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka from April 7 to May 6. Kyoto Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki asked the Japanese government on April 10 to add Kyoto to the state of emergency. Aichi Governor Hideaki Ōmura similarly asked the Japanese government on April 16 to add his prefecture to the list, and then independently declared a state of emergency on April 17. Hokkaido had lifted its own three-week state of emergency on March 19, only to declare a second state of emergency on April 12.
Abe then announced on April 16 that the national government expanded the state of emergency nationwide until May 6. As required by the newly enacted law that allowed for this declaration, Abe met with the government's COVID-19 task force of experts before formally announcing the expansion. Last week, the government extended the state of emergency to May 31.
As of Monday, Japan has reported 16,024 cases of the virus (including 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship), with 668 deaths (including 13 deaths from the Diamond Princess cruise ship).
Update: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially confirmed the lifting of the state of emergency in 39 prefectures on Thursday. He stated that depending on how the situation evolves in the future, he may re-declare a state of emergency. The expert panel will reconvene on May 21 to determine if the state of emergency might be lifted in other prefectures. Source: NHK World
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