Japan expands virus emergency ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Kenji Utsunomiya
Posted at 4:55 PM, May 14, 2021

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is further expanding a coronavirus state of emergency from six areas, including Tokyo, to nine as the government repeated its determination to hold the Olympics in just over two months.

Japan has been struggling to slow infections ahead of the games.

The three additions are Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, where the Olympic marathon will be held, and Hiroshima and Okayama in western Japan.

Bars, karaoke parlors, and most entertainment facilities are required to close. Business owners who comply will be compensated, while those who don't could face fines.

The expansion of the state of emergency is a major shift from the government's initial plan that relied on less stringent measures.

This is now the country's second expansion of the emergency in just one week. A state of emergency, which was Japan's third, was declared April 25.

A possible further extension of the emergency will be evaluated at the end of May.

The Olympics are slated to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.