Tokyo: The Japanese government on Thursday lifted a state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures as the number of COVID-19 infections has remained low. Also Read - Japanese Experiment Shows How COVID-19 Can Spread in Public Places Like Restaurants

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the emergency measure may end in Tokyo and its three prefectural neighbours of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa as well as the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido as early as May 25 after a fresh review by a government panel of health experts, reports Xinhua news agency. Also Read - Japan Gives Nod to Rapid Antigen Kit to Detect COVID-19

Abe first declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures on April 7, but this was expanded to cover the entire nation on April 16. Also Read - Sumo Wrestler in Japan Dies at 28 After Contracting Coronavirus

The state of emergency was originally scheduled to end on May 6, and the government extended it through May 31.

Last week, the Japanese government decided to lift the state of emergency ahead of the planned deadline for 39 of the country’s 47 prefectures as the coronavirus has been less prevalent in those areas. Japan has reported a total of 16,385 COVID-19 cases with 771 deaths.