Japan extends coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus walk on a street in Tokyo (Koji Sasahara/AP) (AP)
9:48am, Thu 09 Sep 2021
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Japan announced it is extending a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and 18 other areas until the end of September as health care systems remain under severe strain, although new infections have slowed slightly.

The country’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga said serious cases remain high and are still overwhelming many hospitals.

The current state of emergency, which was to end on Sunday, was issued first in Okinawa in May and gradually expanded.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga (Behrouz Mehri/AP) (AP)

Despite the prolonged emergency, the largely voluntary measures have become less effective as the exhausted public increasingly ignores them.

The extension will cover a period when Japan’s government is in transition.

Mr Suga has announced that he will not run in a September 29 race for his party’s leadership, and his successor in that race will likely become the next prime minister.

Mr Suga’s government has faced sharp criticism over its handling of the virus.

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