Tokyo to ask government to declare a state of emergency


TOKYO -- In response to the spread of the new coronavirus, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Saturday decided to request the Japanese government to declare a state of emergency, Nikkei has learned through interviews with several people with knowledge of the situation.

It is expected that Yuriko Koike, governor of Tokyo, will meet with Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister of economy, finance and revitalization, in the afternoon to make the request. According to sources, Motohiro Ono, governor of Saitama Prefecture, will also attend the meeting, and both will call for the declaration to be issued.

The number of infected people in Tokyo has been increasing rapidly. On Thursday, a record 1,337 people were confirmed to have been infected, the largest number of new daily infections. In Saitama that day, a prefectural record of 330 people tested positive for the virus, up from 244 on Wednesday.


The Tokyo metro government has been requesting restaurants and other establishments to shorten their hours and to close by 10 p.m., but this has not had a significant effect, and officials have now decided to request the government to issue a declaration so that it can take stronger measures.

The Prime Minister can declare a state of emergency to prevent the spread of a novel coronavirus under the revised Act on Special Measures against H1N1 Influenza. Without the declaration, prefectural governors can request residents to refrain from going out or to close their offices. Under a state of emergency, governors of targeted areas have a clear legal basis in making such requests of residents.

The government in April declared a state of emergency for seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, before expanding the measure nationwide. The emergency was lifted on May 25.
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