Japan lifts state of emergency for most of the country

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Thursday evening that the Covid-19 state of emergency has been lifted for 39 of Japan’s 47 prefectures.

However, the eight prefectures in which the state of emergency remains in place include most of the major urban centers: Chiba, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Saitama, and Tokyo. The timing for lifting the emergency on these prefectures has yet to be decided, but is likely to come before the end of the month.

The daily number of confirmed Covid-19 infections has been in steady decline for about a month, and the authorities feel that the economic demands of a return to business now outweigh the dangers of the coronavirus in most of the country.

For the gaming industry, the most immediate impact will be felt by pachinko parlors, which will no longer feel the strong political and social pressure to suspend their operations in most prefectures.

Michael Penn is a journalist and scholar based in Tokyo, Japan. As a journalist, he both writes print news articles and produces news videos. On the video side, he has several years of experience doing it all by himself: reporting the stories, shooting the video, and editing the packages. As a scholar, the bulk of his past publications have been about Japan's modern relations with the Islamic world.