People on the streets in Japan on Thursday expressed hope that their lives will soon return to normal after a national state of emergency declared over the novel coronavirus pandemic is lifted for 39 prefectures.

But people living in areas set to remain under the state of emergency voiced concern that what policymakers and experts perceive as a protracted battle against the pneumonia-causing virus will continue to negatively impact their lives and businesses.

"I believe the flow of people will gradually return to normal," said Yuta Arai, 34, who works at a fruit and vegetable shop in Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture.