Japan plans to further extend emergency COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo and other regions in a bid to curb infections and prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.
Japan has been struggling with a fifth wave of the virus and last month extended its long-running curbs until September 12 to cover about 80 per cent of its population.
However, the number of severe cases and the strain on the medical system have not eased sufficiently in Tokyo and surrounding areas to allow the restrictions to be lifted.
The government would seek to extend the measures until September 30, including for Tokyo and the second city of Osaka, Economic Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said after meeting with an advisory panel, which ratified the plan.
"We need to reinforce the medical system by reducing infections," Nishimura said.
Some signs of improvement around the nation mean that two prefectures out of 21 will move from the state of emergency to lesser restrictions, while a number of other prefectures will remove all restrictions.
A formal decision will be made later on Thursday.
Tokyo's daily infections totalled 1834 on Wednesday. The country has reported about 1.6 million cases overall and 16,436 deaths.
Australian Associated Press