Virus Situation in Japan "Very Tense": Minister

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, April 5 (Jiji Press)--The situation over the coronavirus outbreak in Japan is becoming "very tense," economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday, referring to the possibility of the government declaring a state of emergency over the virus crisis.

The key to a decision on a state of emergency declaration is whether the outbreak is spreading almost across the country, he said in a television program.

Japan's revised special law on the fight against new influenza was enacted last month to cover the novel coronavirus, believed to have originated in China, allowing the government to declare a state of emergency over the ongoing virus crisis. Once a declaration is made, prefectural governors will be authorized to take strong measures that could limit private rights.

A state of emergency, if declared, "will be a a big message to young people," Nishimura said, urging them not to travel to the countryside from large cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, western Japan, where infections are spreading.

If young people go to regional areas from Tokyo or Osaka, they could spread the virus in the countryside, possibly leading to a dire situation, he said. "I want (young people) to make a level-headed decision," Nishimura added.

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