State of Emergency in Japan

Tokyo, Jan 2 (AFP/APP): Tokyo’s governor on Saturday asked Japan’s central government to declare a new state of emergency as the country battles a third wave of the coronavirus, with record numbers of new cases.

Yuriko Koike, joined by the governors of three neighboring regions, called for the measure to be imposed in their areas during a meeting with Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the coronavirus response.

Japanese officials have in recent weeks asked restaurants and businesses to close early and urged people to stay at home, measures that Koike said were having “some effect”. “But considering the number of cases and the situation of the medical system in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures, we decided it was necessary to immediately and thoroughly curb the movement of people,” she told reporters. Nishimura, who earlier this week said a state of emergency could be necessary if cases continued to rise, said the government viewed the situation as “serious” and would discuss the request. He said he had asked governors to request businesses further shorten their hours and that residents avoid non-essential outings after 8.00 pm.

On Thursday, Tokyo reported more than 1,300 new cases, far exceeding the previous high of 949 cases set late last month, with nationwide infections also breaking records. Japan imposed a first state of emergency in spring.

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