The Tokyo Olympic Games are less than three months away, but with the number of active Covid-19 cases still worryingly high, the Japanese government has decided to extend the current state of emergency to May 31.
Last month, the four prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto were placed under Japan’s third state of emergency on April 25. Though the emergency measures were originally set to run until May 11, government officials have deemed that more time is needed to lower the rate of coronavirus infections to safer levels.
In addition to extending the state of emergency in those four prefectures, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared that Fukuoka and Aichi prefectures would also be placed under the state of emergency on May 12.
According to Kyodo News, restrictions for the rest of May will differ slightly from the measures imposed in late April and some restrictions will be relaxed during the three-week extension:
- Venues serving food and beverages must continue to close by 8pm and refrain from serving alcohol at all times
- Venues that only serve alcohol are asked to remain closed for the duration of the emergency
- Businesses will also be banned from offering karaoke services for the rest of the month
- Some commercial outlets including cinemas and department stores will be allowed to reopen for business but must close by 8pm. Check out our guide on shops and department stores as well as our list of museums and attractions to see which Tokyo venues will remain closed during the state of emergency.
- Events will be allowed to be held with spectators again, but will be capped at 5,000 attendees or 50 percent of venue capacity and must conclude by 9pm
- Nikkei Asia reports that the government is still calling on people to stay home and avoid all nonessential outings, with a goal of reducing the number of commuters by 70 percent
NHK reports that some prefectures are implementing tighter restrictions than others during the emergency extension. For an overview of emergency rules outside Tokyo, see this NHK guide.
Prefectures currently observing quasi-emergency measures will also see restrictions extended to the end of the month. According to NHK, this includes Chiba, Saitama, Okinawa, Kanagawa and Ehime along with Hokkaido, Gifu and Mie prefectures – those last three have been added to the quasi-emergency as of Sunday.
Tokyo reported 925 new cases of Covid-19 on May 11.
This article was originally published on May 7 and updated on May 11.
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