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Japan says it is lifting nationwide COVID-19 emergency requirements

Yoshihide Suga Japan PM
Posted at 9:07 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 09:07:23-04

TOKYO — Japan’s government says the coronavirus state of emergency will end Thursday to help rejuvenate the economy as infections slow.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that virus restrictions will be eased gradually.

“Our fight against the coronavirus is now entering a new phase,” Suga said. “Finally, we can see social and economic activities starting to normalize.”

With the lifting, Japan will be free of emergency requirements for the first time in more than six months.

The current state of emergency, which was declared in April, was repeatedly extended and expanded. The state of emergency remained in place even as the country hosted the Summer Olympics and the Paralympics.

The state of an emergency mainly involved asking restaurants and bars to limit hours and not serve alcohol.

Several governors throughout the country have said they plan to get some of those requests in place for the time being.

Despite public weariness and frustration over the measures, Japan has managed to avoid the more restrictive lockdowns imposed elsewhere while recording about 1.69 million cases and 17,500 deaths from COVID-19.