The Japanese government has announced that the state of emergency, originally slated to end on May 11, 2021, has been extended to May 31 due to the ongoing high number of COVID variant cases in the country. The entry ban on foreigners (including the business track for travelers from certain countries) and the freeze on the issuance of most visas will continue indefinitely. In addition to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, Fukuoka and Aichi prefectures will also be subject to the state of emergency starting May 12. With the Tokyo Olympics expected to start in late July, the Japanese government has been vigilant in trying to reduce the spread of COVID within the country. While bars and restaurants serving alcohol must still remain closed during the state of emergency, from May 12 the prefectural governors of each of the prefectures subject to the state of emergency can independently decide what other establishments should remain closed or be subject to other time restraints. For example, while large-scale establishments (such as shopping malls, etc.) can remain open until 8:00 p.m. as of May 12, the prefectural governors of Tokyo and Osaka have indicated that such establishments shall remain closed for the duration of the state of emergency.

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