TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide discussed with related cabinet ministers on Sunday afternoon how the government should respond to the request from the governors of Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures for an emergency declaration over COVID-19 by the state.
Joining the discussion included Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, health minister Norihisa Tamura, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba.
“We have yet to see any direction,” one of the participants said.
With the new coronavirus spreading relentlessly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the governors, in a meeting with Nishimura on Saturday, requested the central government to once again declare a state of emergency based on the country’s special measures law for tackling the pandemic so that prefectural authorities will be given the power to take stronger measures to curb the viral outbreak. Nishimura, who is in charge of the government’s coronavirus responses, had indicated a plan to carefully consider the request.
The Japanese government made its first emergency declaration over COVID-19 in April last year and lifted it in the following month.