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Japan to relax COVID-19 restrictions for Tokyo, other areas

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said COVID-19 restrictions are to be lifted in Tokyo and other parts of the country. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said COVID-19 restrictions are to be lifted in Tokyo and other parts of the country. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 17 (UPI) -- Japan has lifted the state of emergency in place in Tokyo and other parts of the country, and might apply a maximum 10,000-spectator capacity at the Tokyo Olympics.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that restrictions are to be lifted in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido, among other areas, according Kyodo News and Japanese news services.

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Suga also cited support for the Summer Games from the G7, reports said.

"Amid great difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, from Japan comes a message of worldwide unity and overcoming challenges through human effort and wisdom," Suga said.

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The Japanese leader said that some 4 billion people around the world will watch the Olympics, and that the event will be an opportunity to inspire the dreams of future generations.

Suga also said Japan will use the platform of the Olympics to tell the story of the nation's recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The city of Tokyo and Japan's Olympic committee are to determine the rules for spectators.

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Suga said members of the public who attend the Games will be required to wear masks at all times and will be prohibited from cheering. Spectators also must move inside a bubble of Olympic venues "without stopping by other places," the prime minister said.

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Japan's cumulative COVID-19 caseload has decreased; its seven-day average of daily cases was reported at 1,626 on Wednesday. Vaccinations have picked up, with more than 20 million people have received at least one dose, according to the government.

Takaji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, warned Wednesday of a potential uptick in COVID-19 cases if crowding is not regulated during the Olympics.

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Movement of people should be minimized and measures must be taken against the spread of the delta COVID variant during the Games, Wakita said, according to Mainichi Shimbun.

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