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The rapid spread of new and more contagious coronavirus variants across Japan, including in the Tokyo metropolitan area, is renewing fears that a further rise could push the medical system in the capital to the brink of collapse.

As the nation enjoys the Golden Week holiday season, which will generally finish Wednesday, growing complacency and mutated variants are prompting concerns that the 17-day state of emergency covering four prefectures — Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto — may not be enough to curb the virus’s spread.

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