Calls Growing in Japan for Coronavirus Emergency Declaration

Politics

Tokyo, March 31 (Jiji Press)--Pressures are mounting on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to ramp up the fight against the new coronavirus.

Abe is hesitant out of concern about the damage that a shift to the state is expected to wreak on the economy, despite growing calls for such a declaration from local governments and disease experts.

A special measures law revised recently to boost efforts to contain the virus allows the prime minister to declare a state of emergency based on expert advice under two conditions--when citizen's lives and health are feared to be severely damaged, and when the nationwide and rapid spread of the virus is feared to severely damage people's livelihoods and the economy.

The government takes the position that the first condition has already been met.

As for the second condition, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on television Sunday that "a state of emergency will be declared when the number of infected people whose infection routes can't be tracked increases explosively."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press