Okinawa likely to be added to state of emergency

The Japanese government plans to add Okinawa Prefecture to areas under a coronavirus state of emergency from Sunday through June 20.

If the measure is imposed, it will be the third straight week in which areas covered by the emergency declaration have been expanded.

In making its decision, the government took into account Okinawa's rising number of daily new infections and occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. It also received a request from Okinawa's governor to apply the state of emergency to the prefecture.

The government is hoping to gain approval on the plan from its panel of experts on Friday. It will then brief the Diet, and finalize the measure at a taskforce meeting later in the day.

Meanwhile, the government is not expected to fulfill a request by Gifu Prefecture to add it to the state of emergency. Instead, it will likely allow the prefecture in central Japan to continue to implement targeted anti-infection measures that do not require an emergency declaration.

The state of emergency is now in effect in Tokyo and eight other prefectures.

The government is promoting anti-infection measures such as remote working. It is also urging businesses in some industries to cut operating hours or suspend operations.