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Shinzo Abe to extend state of emergency in Japan by May 31


Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has planned to extend the state of emergency in the country by a month through May 31 amid fears of the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, economic revitalisation minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and health minister Katsunobu Kato met at the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday. After reviewing the situation, the government agreed on the need to extend the emergency declaration through the end of this month, The Japan Times reported.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike also confirmed in a live-streamed video on Sunday that Nishimura told her the government will extend the emergency status until the end of the month.

Abe is expected to announce the extension at a press conference scheduled to be held at 6 pm on Monday.

But another senior official told the newspaper that the government is also planning to allow the reopening of parks, museums, libraries and some other public facilities, even in areas with a relatively high number of infections, as part of efforts to deal with public weariness with the prolonged state of emergency.

As of Sunday, the number of infections reported in Japan topped 15,000, including around 4,600 in Tokyo. The virus has killed over 500 across the country.

Abe initially declared the state of emergency on April 7 for Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures.
On April 16, the Prime Minister expanded it to cover the rest of the country, urging the public to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact with other people.

The state of emergency was originally scheduled to end on Wednesday, the last day of the Golden Week holiday period.

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