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Japan eyes imprisonment for COVID-19 hospitalization refusal

People wear face masks as they walk on a street in Osaka, western Japan Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country. (Yosuke Mizuno/Kyodo News via AP)
People wear face masks as they walk on a street in Osaka, western Japan Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country. (Yosuke Mizuno/Kyodo News via AP)
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14 Jan 2021 01:01:09 GMT9
14 Jan 2021 01:01:09 GMT9

TOKYO: The Japanese government is considering making novel coronavirus carriers’ refusal to be hospitalized punishable with imprisonment or a fine.

As punishment to be introduced through a planned revision of the infectious disease prevention law, a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to 1 million yen is being considered for refusal of hospitalization by infected people, a government official said.

The official made the remark at a liaison meeting between the government and the ruling and opposition camps Wednesday.

The government also told the meeting that it is considering a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to 500,000 yen as planned punishment for refusing to cooperate with active epidemiological investigations by local public health offices to identify COVID-19 transmission routes.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan requested the government to reconsider the proposed penalties.

The government should consider making the fines smaller and the prison terms shorter, said CDP policy leader Kenta Izumi.

Japanese Communist Party policy head Tomoko Tamura criticized the government over the proposed penalties.

The government plans to show the ruling camp on Monday draft legislation to revise the infectious disease prevention law and the special measures law that spells out procedures for states of emergency over infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus.

The government also hopes to present the legislation to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, after adopting it at a cabinet meeting next week. This year’s ordinary Diet session is set to open on Monday.

JIJI Press

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