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Prefectures across Japan begin easing school and business shutdown requests

Forty-one prefectures have fully or partially lifted their business shutdown requests, while 14 plan to reopen prefecture-run schools soon

JIJI

Local authorities in Japan have started relaxing their requests that businesses and schools shut down since the central government on Thursday lifted its coronavirus state of emergency in 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures.

Forty-one prefectures have fully or partially lifted their business shutdown requests, according to a Jiji Press survey as of Friday. Fourteen prefectures, meanwhile, plan to reopen prefecture-run schools earlier than they had scheduled amid the pandemic.

Most of the 39 prefectures where the state of emergency was lifted have eased their business closure requests. The requests were fully lifted in Yamagata on Thursday and in Niigata, Mie and Kagoshima prefectures Friday.

In Aichi Prefecture, some businesses, including movie theaters and commercial facilities, were allowed to reopen starting Friday.

In Yamanashi and Ehime, where business shutdown requests remain in place, some facilities were allowed to reopen with restrictions in place.

Among the eight prefectures where the state of emergency remains, Osaka began lifting its shutdown requests in stages on Saturday, based on its own criteria. Neighboring Kyoto and Hyogo have followed suit.

Some other prefectures, including Gunma and Shizuoka, introduced their own criteria for lifting the shutdown requests.

Most of the 39 prefectures where the state of emergency was lifted plan to reopen schools by May 25. In Kyoto, schools will reopen on May 25 in its northern part and on June 1 in the rest.

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