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  • Japan govt to act soon on virus emergency in Kansai if needed: Suga

Japan govt to act soon on virus emergency in Kansai if needed: Suga

Suga pinned hopes on a bill to revise the special law on the fight against the coronavirus, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, to be convened on Jan. 18. (AFP)
Suga pinned hopes on a bill to revise the special law on the fight against the coronavirus, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, to be convened on Jan. 18. (AFP)
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10 Jan 2021 12:01:25 GMT9
10 Jan 2021 12:01:25 GMT9

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide said Sunday that the government is preparing “to act soon if needed” on a possible inclusion of three prefectures in the Kansai western region in a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus.

The government will make a decision after watching the infection situations in the prefectures–Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo–in the next few days and based on opinions of experts, he said in a television program. “I’m aware that the situations in the three prefectures are tense,” Suga said.

The government put Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, where the virus is spreading rapidly, under the fresh state of emergency on Friday. The emergency declaration is slated to remain in place until Feb. 7.

The governors of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo asked the central government Saturday to add the three prefectures to the state of emergency, noting that new infection cases are increasing there.

Suga pinned hopes on a bill to revise the special law on the fight against the coronavirus, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, to be convened on Jan. 18. Through the revision, the government seeks to introduce penalties on eating and drinking establishments refusing to comply with authorities’ requests for cutting operating hours.

Suga said that the revised law will boost the effectiveness of the country’s fight against the virus through the penalties as well as financial aid to businesses that accept the requests for shorter operating hours.

The Japanese government issued its first emergency declaration for the novel coronavirus on April 7 last year, initially targeting Tokyo and some other prefectures. The state of emergency was expanded nationwide later that month before being lifted in stages in May.

Elsewhere in the TV program, Suga showed the idea of utilizing nuclear power plants to achieve the government’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 2050.

Noting that nuclear power plants in Japan operate under the strictest standards in the world, Suga said that the government seeks to promote their use while obtaining understanding from host local communities. “There is no change in this stance,” he said.

The prime minister said that a recent incident in which supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Hill was “extremely regrettable” because “people in the world believe that (parliament) is a symbol of a democratic country.”

“I hope that the United States will soon move into a direction in a shift away from confrontation, with next U.S. President Joe Biden at the center,” he said.

On the situation in Hong Kong, Suga said, “We would like to strongly call on China to take concrete actions while asserting what we should.”

Suga said that the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China, are “Japan’s inherent territory historically and under international law,” underlining Tokyo’s stance to act resolutely over the issue. China is repeatedly taking provocative action around the Japanese-administered islands.

Revising the Japanese Constitution is an ardent wish of the Liberal Democratic Party and “always our goal,” Suga, also president of the Japanese ruling party, said.

Suga expressed his hope for the enactment of a bill to amend the national referendum law concerning constitutional amendments, saying, “I want both the ruling and opposition parties to enter construction discussions.”

JIJI Press

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