Japan to lift all coronavirus emergency steps nationwide

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People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on a street in Tokyo Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s government says the coronavirus state of emergency will end Thursday so the economy can be reactivated as infections slow.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Tuesday that virus restrictions will be eased gradually. With the lifting, Japan will be entirely free of emergency requirements for the first time in more than six months. Japan’s current state of emergency, declared in April, was repeatedly extended and expanded. Despite public weariness and frustration over the measures, Japan has managed to avoid the more restrictive lockdowns imposed elsewhere while recording about 1.69 million cases and 17,500 deaths from COVID-19.

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