TOKYO: The Japanese government put Tokyo, as well as Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures, under the novel coronavirus pre-emergency stage on Monday, allowing measures almost as tough as those under a state of emergency to be taken to curb infections with the virus.
Specifically, the pre-emergency designation covers Tokyo’s 23 special wards and the cities of Musashino, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Machida, Chofu and Fuchu in the Japanese capital, the city of Kyoto, the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, western Japan, and nine cities on the main island of Okinawa, including Naha, the capital of the southernmost Japan prefecture.
The governors of the three prefectures are calling on restaurants and bars in the designated areas to shorten their operating hours and close by 8 p.m.
Financial assistance ranging from 40,000 yen to 100,000 yen will be provided per store per day to compliant eating and drinking establishments run by small businesses, while stores operated by large companies will receive up to 200,000 yen a day. Facilities that fail to accept such requests or orders can be fined up to 200,000 yen.
The central government has been calling on people to refrain from nonessential travel across prefectural borders in order to prevent a further spread of mutant strains of the novel coronavirus.
“In order to prevent a rebound in infections, it’s very important for people to continue taking countermeasures with a sense of tension,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a parliamentary meeting on Monday, asking restaurants and bars to shorten business hours and the public to refrain from dining in large groups.
The pre-emergency stage, based on the revised special measures law for the fight against the coronavirus, which went into force in February, is slated to run until May 5 in Kyoto and Okinawa and until May 11 in Tokyo.
A total of six cities became the first areas subject to the pre-emergency stage on April 5. The designation for the six–the city of Osaka, the capital of Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, Kobe, the capital of neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, the Hyogo cities of Nishinomiya, Amagasaki and Ashiya, and Sendai, the capital of the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi–is slated to remain effective until May 5.