Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced the state of emergency in Tokyo and eight prefectures will end as planned on June 20, nearly a month before the start of the Olympic Games.
Tokyo has been under state of emergency restrictions since April, which were introduced to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
The measures were originally scheduled to expire at the end of May, but were extended until June 20 to help continue a downward trend of cases.
The Aichi, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Hokkaido, Hiroshima, Okayama, Osaka and Okinawa prefectures have also been under the restrictions.
The state of emergency measures will conclude as planned on Sunday (June 20) in all but one of the prefectures.
Okinawa will remain under tighter restrictions until July 11.
“The number of infected people nationwide has been declining since mid-May,” Suga said today.
“The number of seriously ill people nationwide has continued to decrease, and the condition of beds has been steadily improving.
“On the other hand, the number of infected people has increased in some areas.
“The decline has stopped, and the possibility of rebound has been pointed out.”
A series of measures will remain in place across the prefectures, which has been viewed as a “quasi-state of emergency”.
Suga said focus will be placed on measures around eating and drinking, with restaurants expected to close by 8pm.
Alcohol can be served until 7pm under the restrictions.
Local authorities are able to introduce stronger measures, should they be required.
These restrictions are due to be in place until at least July 11, less than two weeks before the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 23.
“If the infection re-expands and there are signs of tight medical care, it is possible to flexibly include strengthening countermeasures,” Suga said.
“We will take measures to prevent such infections and promote vaccination.
“It is expected to exceed 40 million [vaccinations] at the end of this month, and in all cities, towns and villages, the desired elderly people at the end of July.
“We have received reports that it is expected that two doses of inoculation will be completed.
“We request that each Minister work with all possible efforts on infection control measures and vaccination in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies.”
The number of new COVID-19 cases has steadily declined in Japan since a peak last month, with May 12 seeing over 7,500 reported.
By contrast, 1,717 new cases were reported yesterday across Japan, with the seven day average standing at 1,626.
Japan has administered 27.6 million vaccine doses to date, with 18 million given to the elderly and 9.5 million for medical personnel.
Over seven million people are fully vaccinated in Japan, representing less than six per cent of the population.
The country is hoping to achieve a target of administering over one million doses per day, with a record high of over 912,000 reportedly given on June 9.
The end of the official state of emergency could boost the chance of domestic spectators being permitted to attend Tokyo 2020 competitions, with the Japanese Government introducing a cap of 10,000 or half the capacity for sporting events.
A decision on whether domestic spectators could be able to attend Tokyo 2020 is due to be made at the end of the month.
Foreign fans have already been banned.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are due to take place until August 8, with the Paralympics following from August 24 to September 5.