The Japanese Government has placed Tokyo under a state of emergency that will last through the Olympics, as fears grow due to an ongoing Covid-19 surge.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the move on Thursday morning (local time).
"We will impose the state of emergency in Tokyo," he said at a government meeting on infection measures.
The emergency declaration will be in place until August 22, but restrictions will be far looser than the lockdowns seen in other parts of the world.
The Summer Olympics, already delayed a year by the pandemic, begins on July 23 and closes on August 8.
The Games will take place without foreign spectators, but the planned six-week state of emergency ends the chances of a local audience.
A decision about fans is expected later on Thursday when local organisers meet with the International Olympic Committee and other representatives.
Tokyo is currently under less-stringent measures that focus on shortened hours for bars and restaurants but have proven less effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
IOC president Thomas Bach is due to land in Tokyo later today. Bach must self-isolate for three days in the IOC's five-star hotel in the Japanese capital before heading to Hiroshima, where heavy rain is threatening flooding.
The emergency will be the fourth for Tokyo since the pandemic began and is a last-minute change of plan after a meeting with experts who warned strongly against the Government's soft approach.
A main focus of the emergency is a request for bars, restaurants and karaoke parlours serving alcohol to close. A ban on serving alcohol is a key step to tone down Olympic-related festivities and keep people from drinking and partying. Tokyo residents are expected to face stay-home requests and watch the Games on TV from home.
"How to stop people enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks is a main issue," Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said.
Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 last week and its highest since 1010 on May 13. The figure is in line with experts' earlier estimate that daily cases in Tokyo could hit 1000 before the Games and could spike into thousands in August.
Kazuhiro Tateta, a Toho University infectious diseases expert, noted an earlier state of emergency in the spring came too late to prevent hospitals in Osaka from overflowing with patients and said another delay should not be allowed.
Ryuji Wakita, director general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, noted that two-thirds of Japan's cases are from the Tokyo region and "our concern is the spread of the infections to neighbouring areas".
Experts also noted cases among younger, unvaccinated people are rising as Japan's inoculation drive loses steam due to supply uncertainty.
Just 15 per cent of Japanese are fully vaccinated, low compared with 47.4 per cent in the United States and almost 50 per cent in Britain. Nationwide, Japan has had about 810,000 infections and nearly 14,900 deaths.
"The infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it," Dr Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser, told reporters.
He urged authorities to quickly take tough measures ahead of the Olympics with summer vacations approaching. "The period from July to September is the most critical time for Japan's Covid-19 measures," Omi said.