Japan lifts COVID-19 state of emergency as scheduled
Japan fully lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency covering Tokyo and another 18 prefectures, as well as the quasi-state of emergency covering other regions on Friday as scheduled.
It is the first time since April 4 that none of Japan's 47 prefectures is under either a state of emergency or a quasi-state of emergency.
The Japanese government plans to ease restrictions in phases to resume social and economic activities while preventing another wave of coronavirus infections.
With the state of emergency being gradually lifted, the tourism sector saw a rise in reservations for domestic tours, and businesses such as restaurants and theme parks were preparing for an expected increase in customers.
All Nippon Airways received around 50,000 reservations on Wednesday, nearly 10 times more than the average of a month ago. At the same time, Tokyo Disney theme parks and Universal Studios Japan are expected to raise the maximum number of daily visitors from 5,000 to 10,000.
Under the state of emergency, establishments serving alcohol or offering karaoke services are asked to suspend their business, and those not serving liquor are requested to close by 8:00 pm local time.
The central government will continue to ask food selling establishments to close by 8 pm and those taking sufficient anti-COVID-19 measures by 9 pm for one more month. The metropolitan government of Tokyo has decided to issue certification for anti-COVID-19 measures for qualified establishments to serve alcohol.
The maximum number of spectators allowed for major sporting events is raised to 10,000 from 5,000 currently as the emergency state ends.
In August, with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, Japan's daily case spike peaked at about 25,000. Now the daily infections have been decreasing in the Asian country, and on Thursday, 1,576 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded nationwide.