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Local leaders on Friday reacted to the central government’s decision to lift the state of emergency for 39 of the 47 prefectures with both relief and concern that the return to outdoor activities, school and work raised the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Worries about cross-border infections if people in one of the eight remaining prefectures — Tokyo, Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto — decide to travel to an adjacent or nearby prefecture were particularly strong in the Kansai region. Despite those concerns, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo are going their own way.

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