Sep 28, 2021 - World

Japan to lift nationwide COVID-19 emergency restrictions

Picture of people with masks in Tokyo at night

Photo: Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Japanese government announced Tuesday that the country's coronavirus state of emergency will end this week.

State of play: Japanese economic minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said "[m]easures will be gradually eased out to prevent early re-infection." Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said restrictions will end to allow people "to resume daily lives," adding that vaccination efforts will continue to prepare for a future virus resurgence, per AP.

  • The government will create more temporary coronavirus treatment facilities, as well as introduce vaccine passports and testing.

Catch up quick: Japan in April declared a state of emergency, which was expanded as virus cases increased.

  • The imposed restrictions mainly involved asking restaurants and bars to reduce their business house, AP notes. They may now return to their normal hours.

Between the lines: The country's governing party will choose Suga's replacement this week, and the transitioning government is "under pressure to maintain an effective virus strategy ahead of parliamentary elections in two months," AP writes.

What they're saying: Shigeru Omi, the government's top medical adviser, said that the government needed to "send a clear message to the people that we can only relax gradually."

  • Omi also urged authorities to prepare to tighten restrictions if cases rise before the holidays.
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