Govt OKs Bill for Emergency Declaration in COVID-19 Fight

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Tokyo, March 10 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government Tuesday adopted a bill that will enable the prime minister to declare a state of emergency and initiate powerful measures to contain the novel coronavirus if necessary.

The bill to revise the 2012 law on special measures to fight new strains of influenza is expected to pass the Diet, Japan's parliament, on Friday.

The revision will add COVID-19 to the list of diseases covered by the law for up to two years from its enforcement. The period can be extended for one year.

The purpose of the revision is "to prepare for the worst," said Economic and Fiscal Policy Yasutoshi Nishimura, in charge of the amendment, told a news conference.

"We hope such a situation won't happen," he said, stressing that the revised law would be the government's last resort.

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Jiji Press