Japan Eyeing Penalties for Biz Not Following Closure Requests

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Wednesday began discussions in earnest for revising the special measures law on the fight against the novel coronavirus, including a possible introduction of penalties for businesses that do not follow requests for temporary closures.

The government will aim to submit a bill to amend the law to the regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, to be convened next month.

The discussions started at a meeting of a government panel on the coronavirus crisis, following the resurgence in infection cases around the country. "We gained (panel members') understanding for the need to revise the law," economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is responsible for the state's coronavirus measures, told a press conference after the meeting. "We'll promote the talks speedily."

Prefectural governors are now only allowed to make under Article 24 of the special law nonbinding requests for eating and drinking establishments to shorten business hours and close temporarily in response to the epidemic.

The revised law would boost governors' authority so that they can make requests for shorter business hours and temporary closures in limited areas where the virus is spreading rapidly. It would also clearly stipulate that financial aid be given to businesses that follow such requests.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press