As coronavirus curbs ease following the first wave of cases, many small medical clinics are scrambling to stay afloat and their doctors are calling for government support as patients keep away for fear of infection.

Such clinics are the backbone of a healthcare system short of doctors to care for one of the world's fastest-graying societies.

"Clinics in the residential and office areas seem to be operating on the brink," said Toshihiko Yamazaki, who runs a urology clinic in Saitama's Urawa Ward.