Stocks in Japan fell on Thursday as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced a state of emergency in the capital city of Tokyo amid the spiking cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
According to news agency Reuters, the Nikkei share average slipped 0.88% to 28,118.03, its lowest close in over two weeks. The broader Topix, on the other hand, was down 0.90% at 1,920.32.
Brokers pointed out Thursday that the stocks faced selling pressure from the outset with an impending state of emergency in Tokyo clouding the outlook. A report by The Mainichi on Thursday said that the decline was led by consumer credit issues, mining and air transportation.
This will be the fourth state of emergency for Tokyo, which will come into effect from July 12 and remain in force till August 22. Prime Minister Suga said on Thursday the state of emergency was required to prevent the resurgence of the future spread on Covid-19 cases across Japan.
This time, the Olympics, which will open on July 23 and run through August 8, will ban spectators from attending events in Tokyo and residents will likely face requests to stay at home and watch the games on television.
Neighbouring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, which continue to be under a quasi state of emergency, will also hold spectator-less events, organisers told Bloomberg late on Thursday. However, some regions such as Fukushima and Miyagi, situated north east of Tokyo, will be permitted to have limited spectators.
“It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure a safe and secure Olympics,” PM Suga told reporters and added the administration would ensure safety, particularly thorough border measures.
Tokyo recorded 896 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday while on Wednesday, 920 people tested positive for the viral disease, the highest single-day spike since May 13 this year. The country has so far reported 810,000 cases and nearly 14,900 deat.
(With agency inputs)