TOKYO: Japan has recorded 1,016 cases of domestically transmitted cases of coronavirus as of Saturday (Mar 21), according to public broadcaster NHK, hitting a new milestone as the nation grapples with pressure to avoid a health crisis ahead of Tokyo Olympics.

The tally rises to 1,728 if 712 cases of infections from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo last month are included, according to NHK.

Although the number of cases is still on the rise, Japan has started scaling back some measures to fight the spread of the virus.

READ: Commentary: Organisers may have little choice than to cancel the Tokyo Olympics

On Friday, Japan said it would not extend its request to close schools, setting the stage for classes to resume at the start of the academic year in April.

The Tokyo Olympics, set to start from Jul 24, have been cast into doubt by the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of sporting events and qualifiers around the world.

Olympics organisers have repeatedly said the Games will go on as scheduled.

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