Japan to lift state of emergency in Osaka and two other prefectures

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A man wearing a face mask waits for customers outside a restaurant in Chinatown during the continuing state of emergency on 20 May 2020 in Yokohama, Japan

Japan’s Economy minister says experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighboring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido, AP reports.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters that experts at the meeting approved the plan to lift the measure in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo. The measure will be kept in place in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, as well as Hokkaido, where the infections have slowed but need further improvement.

The three are among the eight prefectures still under the emergency status after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the measure last week in all but eight of the 47 Japanese prefectures. Abe declared the state of emergency on 7 April in parts of Japan including Tokyo and later expanded it to nationwide.

Abe will formally announce the plan later Thursday after approval by parliamentary committees.

Japan has about 16,424 confirmed cases and 777 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the health ministry.