Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday that Japan has fulfilled its responsibility as host of the Tokyo Olympics and thanked the people for their cooperation.
"Although the Olympics were postponed for a year and held under various restrictions, I believe we were able to fulfill our responsibility as host country. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Japanese people for their understanding and cooperation," Suga said a day after the closing of the Summer Games.
Suga was speaking at a press conference in Nagasaki after attending a ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the southwestern Japan city.
The Olympics were held mostly without spectators under a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic in the capital and other areas. The event ended as Japan was suffering from an explosive spread of COVID-19.
Tokyo confirmed 2,884 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest level on record for a Monday. The capital's seven-day rolling average of the new infection cases has risen to 4,135.4 per day, up 28.7 percent from the previous week.
Daily tallies in the country are being closely watched as Suga said earlier the COVID-19 situation will be considered in deciding whether Japan can hold the Paralympics, slated to start Aug. 24, with spectators.
Suga said Monday's press conference that getting vaccinations and refraining from nonessential outings were keys in preventing the spread of the virus.
The cumulative total of vaccine doses administered in the country has topped 100 million, he said.
"With the Bon holidays starting this week amid the continuing spread of a highly contagious (COVID-19) variant, now is an extremely important period" to curb infections, the prime minister said.
He was referring to the major summer vacation season in Japan when many people return to their hometowns or travel elsewhere.
Suga called on younger people to refrain from traveling during the period, saying about 70 percent of new COVID-19 patients in Tokyo were in their 30s or younger.
The government will continue providing information targeting them via YouTube and Twitter, he said.