Japan Data

Japan’s Extended State of Emergency


Japan’s state of emergency has been extended to May 31, as while new COVID-19 cases are decreasing, they have not yet fallen enough.

The Japanese government has extended to May 31 the nationwide state of emergency declaration that had been due to expire on May 6. At a press conference on the evening of May 4, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō said that the number of infections had not dropped enough, and that around another month was needed to reduce the strain on medical services.

The government continues to urge reduction of person-to-person contact by 80% in the 13 prefectures designated for stepped-up measures against COVID-19. In the other 34 prefectures, however, there will be some relaxation of restrictions, while residents are urged to continue following key guidelines for preventing the disease’s spread, such as avoiding crowds, closed spaces, and conversations in close proximity.

COVID-19 and Japan: A Timeline

May 31 Current planned end of state of emergency.
May 6 Original planned end of state of emergency.
May 4 Nationwide state of emergency extended to May 31.
May 4 Global cases rise above 3.5 million.
May 2 Fatalities in Japan rise above 500.
April 30 Supplementary budget including ¥100,000 payments to all residents enacted.
April 28 Cases in Tokyo rise above 4,000.
April 18 Cases in Japan rise above 10,000.
April 16 State of emergency expanded nationwide.
April 14 Ceremonial investiture of Crown Prince Fumihito postponed.
April 12 Cases in Tokyo rise above 2,000.
April 11 Global fatalities rise above 100,000.
April 7 State of emergency declared in the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyōgo, and Fukuoka.
March 30 Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko calls on residents to refrain from attending karaoke outlets, concert venues, bars, and nightclubs.
March 29 Comedian Shimura Ken dies of COVID-19.
March 25 Tokyo Governor Koike urges residents to refrain from going outside at the weekend, warning of the danger of an explosive rise in infections.
March 24 The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are postponed until 2021.
March 13 The enactment of new legislation makes it possible to declare a state of emergency over COVID-19.
March 11 The World Health Organization declares that the COVID-19 outbreak is a pandemic.
February 28 Hokkaidō declares a state of emergency, calling on residents to refrain from leaving home on the weekend. The state of emergency lasts until March 19.
February 27 Prime Minister Abe calls for the closure of all Japanese elementary, junior high, and high schools from March 2.
February 3 The cruise ship Diamond Princess arrives in Yokohama. Many infections are later discovered on the ship.
January 16 The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announces the first case in Japan.

The initial declaration of a state of emergency in seven prefectures including Tokyo came on April 7. This contributed to a downward trend in new cases from around April 19, but a government panel of experts stated that they had not fallen as much as expected. While citizens have been split on the issue with some tiring of self-restraint and others welcoming the extension to May 31, if the number of infections were to rise again, the country’s medical services could be at risk of being overwhelmed.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: A cat gets in the way of telework. © Pakutaso.)

Abe Shinzō coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic