With just over a quarter of Japan fully vaccinated against COVID-19, some in the Suga administration have been hoping to turn the page in the fight against the virus by shifting attention away from daily case totals and recalibrating the public’s focus on fatalities and serious cases in a bid to restore some semblance of stability.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s apparent hopes, however, were crushed last week when the number of daily new cases rose to more than 4,000 in Tokyo and surged past 12,000 nationwide for the first time Saturday. Another coronavirus state of emergency, set to take effect Monday, has been announced for Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures to alleviate fears among a public shocked by the unprecedented jump in new cases.

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