Hospitals across Japan are under growing strain due to the surge in coronavirus cases.
The health ministry says that as of Wednesday, there were 7,826 inpatients with COVID-19 symptoms. That was a rise of more than 1,800, or 32 percent, from a week earlier.
Occupancy rates for hospital beds set aside for coronavirus patients increased in 40 of the country's 47 prefectures.
The highest rate, 68 percent, was in Hyogo, followed by Osaka, on 55 percent, and Hokkaido, at 47 percent.
The number of prefectures with a 25-percent occupancy rate or higher also climbed to 15, up from nine a week earlier.
An occupancy rate of 25 percent or more is one of the criteria for a Stage 3 alert, the second-highest level on the four-tier alert system set by the government's advisory panel to measure the strain on hospitals. Stage 3 means medical care systems could be greatly disrupted.