All national dailies wrote that the Japanese government is planning to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency that is set to expire on Feb. 7 for another month to March 7. Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama will remain under the state of emergency, as will Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka, but Tochigi will be removed because its coronavirus situation has significantly improved. However, the government may lift the state of emergency before March 7 for prefectures where the situation improves. Prime Minister Suga told reporters after discussing the issue with relevant cabinet ministers on Monday that although COVID-19 cases are declining, it is necessary for the nation to remain vigilant for a while longer and the government will make a final decision on the extension after hearing the opinions of experts on Tuesday. The premier is planning to hold a news conference on Tuesday evening after an official decision is made at the GOJ taskforce headquarters.
Yomiuri wrote that the extension is part of Prime Minister Suga’s “do-or-die effort” to host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer because it will be impossible for Japan to host the international sporting event if it fails to bring the infection situation under control.