Japan's cumulative total of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic topped 30 million on Friday, official data showed, as the country grapples with an eighth wave of infections.

It is now estimated that nearly 25 percent of the population have been infected with the virus since Japan confirmed its first domestic case of COVID-19 in January 2020.

Newly confirmed infections totaled 246,451 on Friday, with cases on the rise since mid-October following a decrease after the seventh wave, which peaked in August last year.

People wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus walk in Tokyo's Shimbashi area on Jan. 6, 2023. (Kyodo)

The cumulative number of confirmed cases, which was less than 2 million at the beginning of last year, has increased by more than 28 million in one year amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

In December, a record 7,688 people in Japan died from COVID-19, exceeding the previous monthly high of 7,329 logged in August during the seventh wave.

Concerns over new variants of the Omicron strain are also growing as the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant, which has been rapidly increasing in the United States, has started to appear in Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.