Japan plans tests to ease coronavirus restrictions

NHK has learned the Japanese government plans to stage tests as it moves to ease coronavirus restrictions.

The easing of restrictions will cover people with low risks of spreading the virus, including those who have been vaccinated or tested negative. Through the tests, the government wants to identify challenges that may emerge in loosening controls.

The government plan to conduct the tests at restaurants, bars, small concert venues, small playhouses and large-scale events.

In the tests, people's vaccination records will be checked, lists of visitors will be created and ventilation levels will be measured.

The tests will be carried out with restrictions on the number of people and operating hours relaxed. The government will seek cooperation for follow-up surveys to find whether people got infected.

Tests at restaurants and bars will be conducted in 12 prefectures -- Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Okinawa. Tests covering small concert venues and small theaters will take place in four prefectures -- Hokkaido, Aichi, Osaka, Kumamoto.

As for large-scale events, the government is making arrangements for tests in J.League soccer matches and an international artistic gymnastics event.

The government plans to disclose more details soon.