For the first time in nearly six months, the Japanese government has lifted its Covid-19 state of emergency amid lowered infections, starting 30 September 2021.
Tokyo, along with 18 other prefectures that make up about 75% of Japan’s economy, exited the state of emergency on 30 September as the government works to gradually restore economic activities.
Among the eased restrictions, the number of spectators at major sporting events or concerts will increase from 5,000 to a maximum of 10,000, or 50% of the venue's capacity.
While restaurants are able to serve alcohol and stay open slightly later, the government has requested that, for the next month, F&B establishments close at 8pm.
Certified bars and restaurants that take added precautions, such as installing perspex screens and ensuring adequate ventilation, will be allowed to remain open until 9pm at the discretion of local authorities, said outgoing Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga.
With a fast accelerating vaccination programme (58% of the population is fully vaccinated), the government is also looking to ease quarantine rules for overseas travellers who are fully vaccinated from 14 to 10 days.
Suga also expressed intentions to relax the existing entry ban for fully vaccinated foreign travellers into Japan — including for short-term business trips and international students.
Nonetheless, the PM has emphasised that as "the fight against the coronavirus enters a new phase [and] as Japan prepares for the next wave of infections, the government must continue to work as one to enable people to combine virus precautions with everyday life".