Japan to declare a state of emergency

Daniel Fowler
April 7, 2020

"The state of emergency will allow us to strengthen current steps to prevent an increase in infections while ensuring that economic activity is sustained as much as possible", he said.

"If you ask me if we can enforce a lockdown like France, the answer is no", Abe told MPs last week.

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.

Abe also told reporters Monday that his government will launch a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) stimulus package - Japan's largest ever and almost twice as much as expected - to help counter the economic impact of the pandemic, including cash payouts to households in need and financial support to protect businesses and jobs.

Hiroshi Mikitani, founder of Japan's e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc., on Friday joined the call for Abe to declare a state of emergency.

The Japanese government is also planning a stimulus package to minimize the blow on the already struggling economy.

To fund the package, the government would issue deficit-covering bonds, adding further strain to the industrial world's heaviest public debt at more than twice the size of its $5 trillion economy.

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To protect employment, the government would also establish arrangements through the package to allow small and midsize firms to borrow at zero interest from private financial institutions, Abe said.

Some 143 more cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Tokyo, the city's governor said today, with the highest daily jump bringing the number of cases in the Japanese capital to more than 1,000.

Tokyo's metropolitan government has repeatedly called on residents in the densely populated city to avoid all unnecessary outings.

The Tokyo Skytree all lit up and sending an encouraging "Together we can all win!" message amid the pandemic. "From the medical point of view, Tokyo faces a critical condition", said Dr Haruo Ozaki, head of the Tokyo Medical Association. Unlike in some countries, that would give the government limited enforcement power.

"It really depends on the speech by Prime Minister Abe", said Wada, a professor at International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo.

"Japan is still haunted by the negative legacy of the war and the oppression of its citizens", said emeritus professor of global politics Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the University of Tokyo. In a poll published on Monday by JNN, run by broadcaster TBS, 80% of those surveyed said Abe should declare it while 12% said it was not necessary.

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