Japan will extend its state of emergency until May 31, but the country must prepare for a “life with coronavirus," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a task force meeting today.
Some prefectures with a high infection rate, including Tokyo and Osaka, will keep working to reduce social contact by 80% to stem the spread of the virus. The rest of the nation may begin easing restrictions for small businesses, such as restaurants and cultural facilities, with appropriate prevention measures.
If the current strict measures continues, we would not be able to sustain our living and economy. We must make a step toward a life with coronavirus," Abe said.
Abe said he will review the infection status around May 14 to see if the order can be lifted earlier.
He said the country’s “unique” approach of cluster tracing during lockdown has helped it avoid what he called an explosive outburst of infection seen in other countries.
Japan's state of emergency gives the authority to local governors to request residents stay indoors and suspend businesses, although it cannot force lockdown measures with penalties.