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Japan Considers Extension of Covid Emergency as Economy Sputters

  • Prime Minister Suga’s decision seen coming Tuesday, Kyodo says
  • Parliament house approves measures to add teeth to guidelines
Closed restaurants in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Jan. 8. Bars and eateries are among the firms hardest hit by the guidelines.
Closed restaurants in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Jan. 8. Bars and eateries are among the firms hardest hit by the guidelines.Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg
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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga looks set to extend a state of emergency for major metropolitan areas that will inflict more pain on the economy, as he tries to stem the latest wave of Covid-19 cases and reverse a fall in public support.

The emergency covering 11 areas including Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya has helped halt a rapid acceleration of virus cases threatening the developed world’s oldest population. While infection numbers have started to drop under the guidelines, Suga’s government has said the number of cases remains worryingly high.