Japan is under a state of emergency again as of last Friday, a measure meant to shut down a third wave of coronavirus that has left many wondering whether Japan will be able to go forward with the postponed 2020 Olympics, scheduled to start in July.
Authorities had already decided to ban international visitors from live attendance at the Olympic events, and have said they will soon make a decision whether Japanese spectators will be allowed. In either case, there are serious implications for athletes who will come to compete—or not. There has been criticism that the government has prioritized the Olympics over health.
The new order comes as cases have been rising rapidly, especially among young workers and students, and with a British variant spreading in the country, putting tremendous new pressure on hospitals and other medical care.
The latest emergency order covers about a quarter of Japan's population, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo. The 17-day rule will last until May 11, just after 'golden week,' a time usually popular for travel. The order closes all department stores, malls, theme parks, bars and restaurants serving alcohol, theaters and museums. Other restaurants and public transit will close early.