Japan’s Prime Minister proposes declaring a state of emergency for coronavirus

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Japan’s Prime Minister proposes declaring a state of emergency for coronavirus

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. / Afp
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Government to launch 108 trillion yen package to aid the third-world economy

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe He stated on Monday that his government planned to declare the state of emergency by the coronavirus in the country and proposed a package of aid for a trillion dollars to combat the effects on the economy of the pandemic.

“We hope to declare a state of emergency starting tomorrow after hearing the opinion of the panel of experts,” Abe told reporters. he was adding that the government would launch a 108 trillion yen package to help the third world economy. “We see a rapid increase in new infections, particularly in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka,” said Abe. Those two large cities and five other prefectures would be included in the state of emergency, he added.

Despite being a neighbour of China, where the new coronavirus appeared, Japan has so far been much less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than Europe or the United States. The archipelago registered some 3,650 cases and 73 deaths on Sunday, according to a last official balance.

Nevertheless, the number of cases increased significantly since two weeks ago, mainly in Tokyo, where 148 new infections were registered on Sunday, a new local record. This has increased pressure on the government to intensify its response to the pandemic. Also, the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, called the population to telework and to avoid non-essential departures over the weekend. “So far we have received nothing official, but we are preparing on the assumption that Tokyo will be ‘ among the regions included in the state of emergency, Koike told reporters on Monday.

The state of emergency should be limited to some regions and not entail containment measures as drastic as those in force in many countries. Specifically, the governors of the affected areas may “ask the inhabitants to stay at home and non-essential businesses to suspend activities.

Authorities may also seize land or buildings for medical purposes, but are not empowered to impose mandatory confinement, with penalties if breached. Instead, the system would be based on citizen discipline.

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