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Tennis' Osaka laments suspense over obvious racial murder verdict

Tennis' Osaka laments suspense over obvious racial murder verdict

Japanese women's tennis star Naomi Osaka, an outspoken critic of racial injustice, expressed dismay Tuesday that the conviction of a white police officer in the United States for killing a black man should have been in doubt. The video footage of Minnesota police officer Derrick Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd last summer until he died intensified outrage and sparked worldwide demonstrations against police brutality directed toward African Americans. Naomi Osaka is pictured wearing a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt ahead of her semifinal match against Elise Mertens at the Western and Southern Open in New York.(Kyodo) Posting on social media platform Twitter, Osaka called the decision to convict "clear as day," but said she could not celebrate out of sadness for the fact that the verdict was in doubt in a nation where police violence against African Americans routinely goes unchecked. "The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling," wrote Osaka, who at last year's U.S. Open wore masks bearing Floyd's name and that of others who died at the hands of police. I was going to make a celebratory tweet but then I was hit with sadness because we are celebrating something that is clear as day. The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling. — NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) April 20, 2021 Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father Haitian, was born in Japan but grew up in the United States. The National Basketball Association and its players association released a joint statement that said, "We are pleased to see justice has been served...and will redouble our efforts to advocate for meaningful change in the areas of criminal justice and policing." Major League Baseball's statement read: "In the wake of today's verdict, Major League Baseball hopes to contribute to the healing process by continuing to work with our players...to advance the values of social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion." Related coverage: Nike anti-racism video goes viral, sparks controversy in Japan Tennis: Naomi Osaka speaks out for athletes' right to protest injustice

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Coronavirus

Japan to impose fresh COVID-19 emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo

Japan to impose fresh COVID-19 emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo

The Japanese government plans to impose a fresh coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo as well as Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures on Friday as infections surge with just three months until the Tokyo Olympics, sources with knowledge of the plan said Wednesday. Tougher restrictions, expected to include asking department stores and amusement parks to close temporarily, will be in place during the Golden Week holidays through early May, the sources said. "We will cooperate with local governments and study the contents of the measures" they plan to take, Suga told reporters after meeting with members of his Cabinet including health minister Norihisa Tamura and Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of Japan's coronavirus response. "Then I will make a decision, possibly this week." Tokyo, Kyoto and Hyogo asked the government to impose a state of emergency, following Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura's request the previous day. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrives at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on April 21, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo Ehime Prefecture in the Shikoku region of western Japan asked for a quasi-state of emergency to be declared. Yoshimura said he plans to call on restaurants and bars to close on weekends as well as refrain from serving alcohol, along with asking major commercial facilities such as department stores and amusement parks to close temporarily. Such measures would be stronger than his current request for eateries in central Osaka to close by 8 p.m. under the current quasi-state of emergency. Tokyo and Hyogo are also in discussions with the government to ask commercial facilities to close. Nishimura described the situation in Osaka as "extremely severe," telling a parliamentary committee, "We have to implement stronger measures in a concentrated manner." Despite restrictions under the quasi-state of emergency in place since April 5, Osaka saw a record 1,242 daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Hyogo also hit a record with 563, while Tokyo reported 843, the most since the previous state of emergency was lifted in late March. The nationwide tally topped 5,000 for the first time in three months. Shigeru Omi, an infectious disease expert who chairs a government subcommittee on virus countermeasures, told a separate parliamentary committee that an emergency must be declared "as soon as possible" taking into account the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus, and should remain in place for at least three weeks. According to an analysis by a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel of experts, such variants account for about 80 percent of infections in Osaka and Hyogo and a rapidly growing share of cases in Tokyo. Meanwhile, the government's top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, said Kyoto's request for a state of emergency is under consideration. Suga has said a fresh emergency declaration would not affect the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, reiterating that the government will continue efforts to ensure they are "safe and secure." But public skepticism remains high, with 39.2 percent of respondents in a Kyodo News poll this month saying the games should be canceled and 32.8 percent saying they should be rescheduled. The Olympics organizing committee is considering delaying its decision on how many spectators to allow into venues due to the surge in coronavirus cases, according to an official with knowledge of the schedule.  

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