Japan PM to declare state of emergency as early as Tuesday

Daniel Fowler
April 6, 2020

While Abe's declaration still won't be able to force their closure or enact a lockdown on Japan's population, perhaps the sheer intimidating atmosphere of "official state of emergency" will help convince more people to stay at home at least until Tokyo stops breaking its record for single-day infection discoveries.

Measures are expected to include a stay-at-home request for residents, but there will be no penalties for objectors. He noted that public transportation and grocery stores would remain open.

He said the measure is meant to further reinforce social distancing between people to slow the spread of the outbreak, and to continue to keep social and economic activities to a minimum. "Experts have told us that there is no need for such a step", said Mr Abe.

After last week saying the situation didn't yet call for such a move, Abe changed course after cases in Tokyo surged over the weekend. The law, however, is a divisive one because it could limit civil rights.

Japan's government began preparing Monday for the declaration of a state of emergency over the outbreak of the new coronavirus, as infections spike in the capital Tokyo and elsewhere.

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Tokyo. Reports say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to declare an emergency in Tokyo and other cities Tuesday

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said the city will start transferring patients with no or slight symptoms from hospitals to hotels and other accommodations to make room for an influx of patients with severe symptoms.

"Please do not go out". "It's to protect your own health, your family, your loved ones and to save our society".

Koike said Tokyo's metropolitan government is set to approve a 22 billion yen ($202 million) budget of its own to supplement the national government's package. Many cities and some countries around the world are now under lockdown in a bid to slow the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, but Japan has so far resisted bringing in any major restrictions on citizens and businesses.

Japan has a relatively small number of infections compared to other countries, but there are concerns a sudden surge in cases in Tokyo could lead to a major outbreak in the world's biggest city.

Japan has so far been spared the sort of crisis seen in parts of Europe and the United States, with around 3,650 cases across the country - compared to around 330,000 in the USA and around 130,000 in Italy and Spain. But the numbers keep rising, with particular alarm over the spread in Tokyo, which has more than 1,000 cases including 83 new ones on Monday.

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