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Yoshihide Suga

Japan Prime Minister Announces Easing Of Restrictions Ahead Of Tokyo Olympics

J
apan has announced an easing of its state of emergency in Tokyo as the country prepares to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games next month.

Japan prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, said the country will downgrade the state of emergency when it expires Sunday and will move forward with less restrictions.

The new measures will last until July 11, with the Olympics set to take place July 23.

The state of emergency followed an increase in COVID-19 cases and featured an open petition to cancel the Olympics due to public health concerns that garnered 150,000 signatures.

Health minister, Norihisa Tamura, said the government would not hesitate to issue another emergency declaration even in the middle of the Olympics.

Director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Ryuji Wakita, said: “In order to prevent another upsurge, it is crucial to prevent people from roaming around during the Olympics.”

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the cabinet minister in charge of virus measures, said the new measures would limit spectators to 50% of a venue’s capacity or 10,000 people depending on which is smaller.

“It is important that we maintain thorough anti-infection measures to prevent a rebound in cases, especially as we foresee a spread of the Delta variant,” Nishimura said.

The Olympics have seen a massive decline in favour from the public with 10,000 out of the 80,000 volunteers quitting ahead of the Games.

Japan currently has a seven-day average of 1,626 cases and has recorded over 779,000 cases and 14,000 deaths.