All national papers took up remarks made to the press on Thursday by Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Nishimura suggesting that the ongoing state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic may be lifted for 17 prefectures in Tohoku, Shikoku, and other regions on May 14 since no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed there in the past seven days. He said the GOJ will seek the advice of experts before making a final decision. The minister in charge of the GOJ’s response to the outbreak also reportedly indicated that the central government may formulate a set of criteria for lifting the state of emergency that would include the number of patients in the past few weeks, the number of patients whose infection routes cannot be traced, and PCR testing capacity and other components of the healthcare system.
According to Sankei, Prime Minister Abe also hinted at ending the state of emergency for some prefectures as early as May 14. In an exclusive interview conducted yesterday, he emphasized that the GOJ is committed to mobilizing all available resources to quickly develop a vaccine and identify drugs that can be used to treat the new virus.