Photo/Illutration Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike speaks at a news conference on Sept. 4. (Koichi Ueda)

Japan's capital lowered its alert over the COVID-19 pandemic to the second highest level on Sept. 10 following a decline in new infections in Tokyo. 

The decision was made based on the downward trend in the daily count at a meeting of its panel, including experts, monitoring the spread of infections and capacity of Tokyo's health care system held that day. 

The metropolitan government also decided the same day to drop requests for restaurants serving alcohol and all karaoke parlors in the capital’s 23 wards to close by 10 p.m. daily, effective from Sept. 16 as scheduled.

We think the requests had a certain effect on preventing infections from spreading,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said during a metropolitan government task force meeting on Sept. 10. “We’ll continue social and economic activities while preventing a further spread of infections.” 

The Tokyo government had maintained the alert for the status of infections at the highest level on its four-point scale, meaning infections are spreading. The second highest level means caution is needed against a resurgence of infections.

Tokyo reported a record 472 new infections on Aug. 1 and 462 cases on Aug. 7, but its daily count has largely been declining since then. The capital had a daily average of 148.6 new cases over the week until Sept. 9.

(This article was written by Chiaki Ogihara and Yusuke Nagano.)