Source: Robert Besser

TOKYO, Japan: With only months before the Summer Olympic Games, it is uncertain whether the games will go ahead as the country begins its third COVID-19-related state of emergency for Tokyo and three urban prefectures.

The emergency was ordered by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and affects the Tokyo and western Japan prefectures of Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto.

The emergency is scheduled to continue until May 11.

The Summer Olympics, which have been delayed by one year due to the pandemic, is to be held July 23 through August 8.

Suga noted that the state of emergency was requested by the governors of Tokyo and Osaka prefectures, as well as health experts.

“By implementing stiff measures over a short period of time, such as requests to close doors temporarily, we will thoroughly control the flow of people and restrain a further spread of infections,” according to Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of economic revitalization, as quoted in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The emergency regulations prohibit gatherings at large events. Also, train and bus operators are being requested to stop transporting passengers earlier on weeknights, along with reduced runs on weekends and holidays.

Additionally, restaurants are being asked to close earlier, temporarily stop serving alcohol and close down their karaokes.

And all retail stores and other large commercial businesses will be forced to close during the emergency.