• Japan is set to put Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo under a state of emergency to control a surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • The state of emergency stands to affect roughly 25% of the country's population.
  • The announcement comes less than three months before the Tokyo Olympics are slated to begin.
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Japan is set to place one quarter of its population under a state of emergency starting April 25, Japan Today reported.

The declaration from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to come on Friday. The state of emergency is expected to affect four prefectures - Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo - and to run from Sunday, April 25 through Tuesday, May 11.

Roughly 25% of the country's population stands to be affected by the announcement. Under the state of emergency, expected restrictions include temporary closure of establishments that serve alcohol, the banning of spectators from events, and limited buses and trains on weekends, per Japan Today.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases climb in Japan. On April 21, the country recorded 5,369 new COVID-19 cases, a daily high not seen in the country since mid January, data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems and Science Engineering (JHU CSSE) shows.

To date, Japan has recorded 548,000 cases and 9,737 deaths, per JHU CSSE data. Of Japan's 47 prefectures, Tokyo has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths (132,000 and 1,840 respectively), followed by Osaka (71,058 and 1,297 respectively). The country is lagging behind many other developed countries in its vaccine roll-out. As of April 23, Japan has administered 2.3 million coronavirus doses, or about 1.9 doses per 100 people, The New York Times' vaccine tracker shows.

This is not the first time Japan will have declared a state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 7, 2020, Tokyo and six other prefectures went into a monthlong state of emergency to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympics, which are projected to start on July 23, draw ever nearer. On April 15, a senior Japanese official said that canceling the Olympics is still "an option." If they are not canceled, they will proceed without any overseas spectators, per a decision the Olympics organizing committee announced on March 20.

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