Photo/Illutration Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks at a Sept. 9 government task force meeting where the decision was made to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency until Sept. 30. (Koichi Ueda)

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration gave its final approval on Sept. 9 for extending the current state of emergency declared over the latest phase of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The government’s task force agreed to extending the state of emergency declared for 19 of 21 prefectures until Sept. 30. It was originally set to expire on Sept. 12.

Miyagi and Okayama prefectures will move from a state of emergency to pre-emergency measures from Sept. 13 until Sept. 30.

Of the 12 prefectures where pre-emergency measures are now in place, six--Toyama, Yamanashi, Ehime, Kochi, Saga and Nagasaki--will have the measures lifted on Sept. 13. The measures will stay in place until Sept. 30 for the six remaining prefectures: Fukushima, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima.

Suga has decided to withdraw from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, in part, due to public disapproval with his Cabinet’s dismal handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is set to step down as prime minister after a new party leader is chosen on Sept. 29.

The state of emergency will remain in place until the end of September in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Okinawa.