TOKYO -- The Japanese government has begun final preparations to lift the coronavirus state of emergency issued in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures on March 21, numerous government and ruling party sources have disclosed.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce his intention on March 17 to remove the state of emergency over Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures. Then, the government plans to hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Basic Action Policy the following day to hear the opinions of experts. The final decision is expected to be reached during a subsequent meeting of the government's coronavirus response headquarters.
Japan's second state of emergency in response to the spread of coronavirus infections was issued in the four prefectures in the greater Tokyo area from Jan. 8, and later expanded to seven other prefectures in Japan including those in the western Kinki region, central Chubu region, and in Fukuoka to the southwest.
Initially the limit of the state of emergency was set at Feb. 7, but the drop in infections in the capital region stalled, leading to two extensions that saw it continue for two and a half months.