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Reflecting an “explosive” rise in new COVID-19 cases spurred by the omicron variant, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration on Friday decided to put Okinawa, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency after consulting experts.

Meanwhile, amid fears of a further spread of the virus over the three-day weekend, governors in the greater Tokyo area planned an online meeting to discuss their response to the alarming surge in new infections.

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