Shrine maidens walk in the compound of Kanda shrine in Tokyo Friday, May 15, 2020. Tokyo is still under a coronavirus state of emergency until the end of May, though there have been no hard lockdowns. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO — The governor of Tokyo, one of several prefectures still under a coronavirus state of emergency, said Friday that she plans to reopen businesses in three phases in the Japanese capital as it prepares for a possible end to the restrictive measures later this month.

Yuriko Koike said Tokyo will be able to ease restrictions once new cases per day fall below 20, among other indicators. If figures deteriorate, social and economic activity will have to be scaled back again, she also said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the end of the state of emergency in all but eight of the country’s 47 prefectures. Restrictions are still in place, for example, in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hokkaido, where experts said risks remain.

Abe said he will have another experts’ meeting next week to decide if the emergency can be removed entirely.

Under the roadmap, business activities will resume in three steps, starting with the lowest-risk facilities like museums and libraries, Koike said. In phase two, theaters will be allowed to reopen and business hours for restaurants and bars will be extended. The final phase will apply to all but cluster-prone facilities such as night clubs.

Japan has registered about 16,200 coronavirus cases and 710 deaths.


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