The government plans to extend its third coronavirus state of emergency, which covers Tokyo and three western prefectures, beyond its scheduled end Tuesday. The decision on the extension, which may run from two weeks to a month, will be made Friday, sources say.

Activities by support groups to help people hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis continued during the Golden Week holiday that ended Wednesday.

Among those who have gathered for free meals and other services in recent months are young people and people with children, groups that were rarely seen at such events before, the groups say.

Japan may extend COVID-19 state of emergency beyond May 11 | WION
Japan may extend COVID-19 state of emergency beyond May 11 | WION

Highlighting the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic, a survey released last week indicated that some 8% of women in Japan who had an abortion last October and November decided to end their pregnancies due to reasons linked to the COVID-19 crisis.

The pandemic is also accelerating a trend toward solitude that was already in full swing in Japan, notes Michael Hoffman in his Big in Japan column. Although as one magazine reports, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Yesterday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or over): Osaka 668 (1,260), Tokyo 621 (925), Fukuoka 337 (440), Hyogo 331 (600), Aichi 224 (323), Hokkaido 181 (219), Saitama 165 (224), Kanagawa 152 (257), Chiba 121 (144). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker