All national dallies wrote that the GOJ told the ruling parties’ leaders on Wednesday it will ask a panel of experts today to review its plan to extend the current COVID-19 state of emergency, which applies to a total of 21 prefectures, for Tokyo and 18 other prefectures beyond the scheduled ending date of Sept. 12 to Sept. 30 as hospital capacity is still under strain. The GOJ is also planning to replace the state of emergency in the remaining prefectures of Miyagi and Okayama with a quasi-state of emergency. The GOJ will make a formal decision on the plan after consulting experts.
Meanwhile, the GOJ subcommittee advising the government on its COVID-19 response issued a proposal on Wednesday for the criteria for deciding whether to lift the state of emergency. The panel said the state of emergency should only be lifted if hospital bed occupancy rates fall below 50% and the number of patients with severe to moderate symptoms is on a downward trend.