TOKYO: Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency Friday (May 14), just 10 weeks before the Olympics, as campaigners submitted a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be scrapped.

With Tokyo and other areas already under emergency orders until the end of May, three more regions - including northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon - now join them.

"Today, we decided to add Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima to the area under the state of emergency from May 16 to 31," Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

In these regions, "the population is relatively big and the number of new cases is very rapidly increasing", he said.

The widening emergency, aimed at combatting a fourth wave putting Japan's medical system under strain, comes with public opinion firmly opposed to holding the Games this summer, fearing further infections.

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