The Japanese government is leaning towards an extension of a COVID-19 forced state of emergency in Tokyo and other major urban areas, casting fresh doubts on the Tokyo Olympics.
Officials hinted at a possible emergency extension in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures, adding to the challenges facing an Olympics that’s less than 80 days away in the capital.
Japan had earlier declared a 17-day state of emergency on April 25 in Tokyo and three western urban prefectures to prevent a rapid coronavirus resurgence.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will convene a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to deliberate over the extension, the Yomiuri newspaper reported without citing sources.
Japan faces a fourth COVID-19 wave, months ahead of the Tokyo Olympics
Under a state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas, restaurants, bars, and karaoke parlors serving alcohol will be required to shut doors on government orders. Large department stores and movie halls were also closed, while spectators were barred from attending sporting events.
Although the regulations offer a far-reaching glance at the preventive measures, questions still hang over the city's readiness to host the Games.
Meanwhile, organizers unveiled the latest edition of 'Playbook' in April, providing a framework of principles and measures to ensure a safe Tokyo Olympics.
The torch relay ceremony was moved off public streets and was conducted in a park in Osaka with no spectators. The relay commenced in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima on March 25. It will end at Tokyo's National Stadium on July 23 for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.