TOKYO — Tokyo will remove shutdown requests on more businesses from June when theaters, cinemas, fitness gyms and retailers in the Japanese capital can reopen after a coronavirus state of emergency ended this week.
Governor Yuriko Koike said Tokyo is now ready to move to Step 2 of a three-phase roadmap designed to gradually reopen businesses in the city.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared an end to a seven-week emergency Monday, saying the infections have subsided enough to resume social and economic activity under a “new normal” requiring physical distancing and other disease prevention measures.
Tokyo reported 22 new cases Friday, triggering concerns of an underlying risk and a possible second wave of infections. Koike said infections are not accelerating and hospitals now have space.
Libraries, museums and schools, considered to be lowest risk, reopened in Tokyo this week. Under Step 2, theaters, cinemas, fitness gyms, cram schools and retailers can resume businesses. Night clubs, karaoke and live music houses, which are considered more prone to infections, will be last and their safety guidelines are still being worked out.
Even though its emergency measures only involved requests for social distancing and some business closures, Japan so far has about 16,700 cases and 870 deaths, significantly fewer than many other countries.