NHK has learned that a government expert panel has approved a report that says sustained transmission of the coronavirus is likely to occur in Japan.
Tokyo confirmed 41 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to over 1,300.
The panel's report was approved by the members on Thursday.
Under newly enacted legislation, if the health minister concludes that there is a high risk of the disease spreading, the minister will report to the prime minister, who will then set up a task force.
Health minister Katsunobu Kato is expected to report the expert panel's view to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday. Arrangements to set up a government task force based on the new legislation could follow later in the day.
Abe will be able to declare a state of emergency if two conditions are met, including the possibility of a nationwide and rapid spread of the virus having a significant impact on people's lives and the economy.