Nikkei wrote that the GOJ is planning to decide during the upcoming Golden Week holidays starting on April 29 whether to extend the state of emergency beyond May 6. The GOJ issued its initial declaration covering Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7. Then on April 16 it extended the measure to cover 13 prefectures, the original seven and six additional prefectures that require close attention. The paper wrote that the decision-making process involves three phases. In the first phase, the government will start looking at data as early as Wednesday after hearing the opinions of experts on such key indicators as the number of days it takes for confirmed cases to double, the rate of people testing positive, and the degree to which residents have reduced their nonessential outings. The paper wrote that the second phase will probably begin two weeks after the GOJ extended its state of emergency nationwide on April 16, speculating the GOJ will determine whether more measures are needed to curb the coronavirus outbreak around April 29 when the Golden Week holidays start. The third and final stage would come during Golden Week, which runs into the second week of May. Shigeru Omi, chair of a government panel of experts on the coronavirus, expressed the view at a news conference on April 17 that the panel will decide around May 6 whether the outbreak has been brought under control.
The paper wrote that Prime Minister Abe commented on Tuesday on the GOJ’s goal of reducing people-to-people contact by 80% by saying that some areas are not doing enough. When announcing the initial emergency declaration on April 7, Abe said that new cases could peak in two weeks if contact is reduced by 70% to 80%. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nishimura told reporters on Tuesday that the virus is spreading from cities to rural areas but Japan is not on track for an explosive surge that would see cases double in two or three days.