The head of the Japan Medical Association has urged the government to take a cautious approach to a proposal to lift the state of emergency for some prefectures earlier than scheduled.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Nakagawa Toshio said that the number of new cases of the coronavirus in the country has been declining at a slower pace and shows a sign of bottoming out.
He warned that if the government decides to lift the state of emergency declaration earlier, the decision could send a wrong message to people that it is safe now.
He said that it is most important to contain cases low enough to prevent a fourth wave of infections and to pave the way for the end of the pandemic.
Nakagawa said such an approach is needed to protect the life and health of people and bring economic activities back to normal.
He said that he cannot say he fully supports the earlier lifting of the state of emergency.
Nakagawa also warned that it would be difficult to conduct vaccinations broadly if the fourth wave comes and the virus spreads again. He said that would cause a chaotic situation at medical institutions.
He stressed that the government should not thwart the patience of people who have refrained from outings and other socializing opportunities to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.