Two new coronavirus infections were reported in Tokyo on Saturday, the lowest single-day tally since Japan declared a state of emergency last month, as the government prepares to lift restrictions on the capital and four other prefectures.
The number of Tokyo's new cases, which increased rapidly in late March and peaked in mid-April, has recently remained below the threshold set by the central government for imposing emergency measures.
The Tokyo government has confirmed 5,138 cases so far. It received reports of eight new deaths of coronavirus patients Saturday, raising the toll to 271.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo, three neighboring prefectures and Hokkaido on Monday based on advice from experts.
Among the three prefectures neighboring the capital, Kanagawa confirmed five new cases and two deaths, while Saitama reported one new case. No new case was reported in Chiba.
Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura in charge of the pandemic response said in a news conference, "A favorable trend is continuing" in the five prefectures still under the state of emergency, before the government convenes a meeting with experts Monday to decide whether to end their social and economic restrictions.
He also announced plans to hold a survey among approximately 10,000 people across the country on social and work practice changes in order to devise policies to encourage new lifestyles without lowering the guard against the virus.
Throughout Japan, 25 new cases of infection were reported Saturday, increasing the total number of confirmed cases to 17,243. The tally includes about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February.