INTERVIEW: Koike Seeks Revision of Coronavirus Special Law


Tokyo, Dec. 22 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Tuesday stressed the need for the Japanese government to amend the special measures law on the fight against the novel coronavirus to help local leaders better respond to the resurging health crisis.

"It's very tough to battle the epidemic while we have few weapons and the only thing we can do is make requests (for restraints on activities)," she said in an interview with Jiji Press.

On the possible revision of the law, Koike said that fundamental discussions are necessary on what activities should be restricted and how strictly they should be regulated.

A challenge is to enable prefectural governors to exercise their authority speedily, she said, apparently with in mind the delay in coordination work between the state and local governments on deciding the scope of facilities subject to temporary closure requests when the central government declared a state of emergency over the virus in April. The state of emergency first covered Tokyo and some other prefectures and was then expanded to all other prefectures as well later that month, and was lifted in stages in May.

In a related move, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura at a news conference Monday showed the central government's plan to consider revising the special law during next year's regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, to be convened in January, stressing that it is necessary to allow prefectural governors to take stronger measures to curb coronavirus infections even before the state issues an emergency declaration.

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