The government had hoped a “short and powerful” state of emergency would contain a fourth wave of infection, but new cases in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka are still at high levels, Suga said.
Extending the state of emergency to May 31 from May 11 will leave a margin of less than two months before the July 23 start of the Games, which were postponed last year because of the pandemic. read more
Responding to a question at a news conference about continued public unease about the Games, Suga reiterated his stance that Japan can host “a safe and secure Olympics” while following appropriate COVID-19 containment measures.
As of Friday, more than 230,000 people had signed a Japanese online petition calling for the Olympics to be cancelled. read more
“We are putting all our efforts into stemming the spread of infections,” Suga said, after acknowledging that he was “aware” of concerns about the Games.
Suga said Olympics organisers were considering a series of measures that would protect the health and lives of the Japanese public.
Japan has not suffered as badly from pandemic as other countries but its vaccination campaign has been slow. So far only around 2% of the population of about 126 million has received at least one vaccine dose,