People in Japan are expressing weariness about having to put up with an extension of the coronavirus state of emergency until the end of May, part of an effort by the government to suppress a resurgence of infections ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics.
At Tokyo's Haneda Airport, few travelers were seen on Saturday, following the government's decision announced the previous day to extend the emergency covering Tokyo and the greater Osaka area. The emergency was initially slated to end Tuesday.
"There is no end in sight," said Motohiro Nagata, 65, who was heading to Toyama Prefecture. "I can't plan ahead as the government changes the period (of the emergency) and details of the anti-virus measures so often."
A woman in her 50s who works at a coronavirus testing center and did not want to give her name voiced concern that the emergency would be of little effect.
"People are moving around so I don't think the number of infections will decrease despite the extension of the emergency," she said.
In Tokyo's posh Omotesando area, shoppers crowded the streets over the weekend. "It's the third (state of emergency). We're used to it now," said Miho Matsumoto, 36, who came from Chiba to go to a beauty salon.
A 32-year-old man who came to Omotesando questioned the wisdom of holding the Olympics Games amid the pandemic. "If (the government) wants to stop people's movements, I don't think the Olympics should be held," he said.
The government also decided Friday to add Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures to the emergency, allowing local authorities to take tougher measures such as asking dining establishments to stop serving alcohol, effective from Wednesday.
In the city of Fukuoka, few people were spotted on the street in its downtown Tenjin district, a popular shopping area for tourists and locals.
"Everyone is wearing face masks and yet more contagious coronavirus variants are on the rise. The state of emergency cannot be helped," a 76-year-old man who did not give his name said.
The man, who lives in the city, added, "It's not right to hold the Olympics in this situation."
At JR Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture, a 47-year-old man, who was heading to Osaka Prefecture for work, said people around him and he himself no longer feel the "sense of crisis" they used to feel when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.
"I don't have much hope that the (latest) emergency will be effective," the man said.
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