Japan’s Abe lifts state of emergency, says virus outbreak under control

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's news conference is broadcast on large screens at Shinjuku district in Tokyo on May 25, 2020.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's news conference is broadcast on large screens at Shinjuku district in Tokyo on May 25, 2020. © Issei Kato, REUTERS

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the state of emergency imposed nationally to combat coronavirus following a sharp decline in the number of new cases.

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"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria," Abe told a nationally televised news conference.

"Today we will lift the state of emergency nationwide," he said.

Social distancing curbs had been loosened for most of the country on May 14 as new infections fell, but the government was keeping Tokyo and four other prefectures under watch.

The world's third-largest economy has escaped an explosive outbreak with more than 16,600 infections and 839 deaths so far, according to NHK public broadcaster.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

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