Municipality-Based Coronavirus State of Emergency Sought

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, July 28 (Jiji Press)--Kamon Iizumi, head of Japan's National Governors' Association, has called on the central government to issue a novel coronavirus state of emergency for municipalities, not for prefectures, if such action becomes necessary again.

Iizumi, governor of Tokushima Prefecture, western Japan, made the request in a videoconference with economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on Monday. A municipality-based state of emergency will give more flexibility than a state of emergency issued for prefectures, having relatively minor impacts on the economy and society, according to Iizumi.

The Japanese government declared a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus crisis on April 7 for seven prefectures with a surge in infection cases, including Tokyo, and expanded it to cover all 40 other prefectures of the country as well on April 16. The emergency declaration was lifted in stages in May.

Iizumi said that the special measures law on the fight against the coronavirus does not have a clause stipulating that a state of emergency should be issued on a prefectural basis. "A prefecture-based emergency will have major impacts on economic and social activities," Iizumi said, adding, "I want the government to create a system to issue a state of emergency in an effective way."

At a news conference on the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga sounded cautious about Iizumi's request, saying, "The government designates prefectures as the targets of a state of emergency because authority under the special law is exercised by prefectural governors."

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