Japan prepares to extend state of emergency

The Japanese government is set to extend emergency coronavirus measures in the capital and other areas for another three weeks.

Emergency declarations for the capital and eight other prefectures are set to end on Monday.

Officials plan to extend the emergency to June 20 -- the day Okinawa's declaration is due to expire. Okinawa had been added to the list later, so the southern prefecture has a later end date as well.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide is expected to make a final decision on Friday after consulting a panel of experts.

Tokyo's battle against the virus has seen slow results.
While new infections are declining, the daily average for the past week remains high, at around 600.

Experts suggest over 80 percent come from a more contagious strain first found in Britain.

Even more concerning is a cluster of infections linked to a variant that has crippled hospitals in India. Experts warn that this strain could become more common in Japan.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko said on Thursday, "We're still at the beginning of our vaccination rollout. So we have no choice but to continue to take thorough anti-virus measures."

Health authorities across Japan confirmed more than 4,100 new cases with 119 deaths on Thursday.