TOKYO, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 25 to reach 16,543, according to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities on Saturday.
The number excludes the 712 cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo.
In Tokyo, two new infections were reported on Saturday, the lowest rise per day since Japan declared a state of emergency in early April, raising the total number in the prefecture to 5,138 so far.
Meanwhile, eight new deaths of coronavirus patients were reported in Tokyo on Saturday, raising the toll to 271.
Japan plans to lift restrictions on the capital and four other prefectures as the number of new cases has recently remained below the threshold set by the central government for imposing emergency measures.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the end of the state of emergency in Tokyo, three neighboring prefectures and Hokkaido on Monday based on advice from the meeting of experts deciding whether to end their social and economic restrictions.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, the economic revitalization minister in charge of the pandemic response, said in a press conference that "a favorable trend is continuing" in the five prefectures still under the state of emergency.
He also said the government plans to conduct a survey among approximately 10,000 people across the country on social and work practice changes as reference in formulating policies to encourage new lifestyles without lowering the guard against the virus.