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Japan extends state of emergency until May 31

Tokyo: The Japanese government officially announced its decision to extend the nationwide state of emergency imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by nearly a month until May 31.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, scheduled to hold a press conference in the evening, made the formal decision to extend the state of emergency beyond May 6, the last day of Japan’s Golden Week holiday, reports Xinhua news agency.

After an advisory panel of medical experts approved the extension in the morning, the government notified the parliament of the decision.

The extension comes as the medical system has come under mounting pressure with increasing cases and sluggish economic activities due to stay-at-home requests and business closure.

Abe first declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7, but this was expanded to cover the entire nation on April 16, in part to dissuade large numbers of people crossing prefectural lines during the five-day Golden Week holidays, which officially began on May 2.

The state of emergency was originally scheduled to end on May 6, the last day of the Golden Week holidays.

As of May 4, the number of coronavirus cases in Japan increased to 14,877, with 487 deaths.

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