Blanket School Closures Unlikely over Tokyo-Area Virus Emergency

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 4 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s government will unlikely seek blanket closures of elementary and junior high schools even if a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus is declared again for the Tokyo metropolitan area, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura indicated Monday.

“We are not considering blanket school closures at the moment,” Nishimura, who is in charge of the government’s measures against the coronavirus, said at a press conference.

The government issued an emergency declaration over the virus for Tokyo and some other prefectures on April 7 last year and then expanded it nationwide later that month. At the time, the government asked elementary, junior high and high schools across the country to be closed temporarily. The emergency declaration was lifted in stages in May.

The expected fresh state of emergency is set to cover Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, where new infection cases have been increasing rapidly.

Ahead of the entrance examination season, the government this time is not considering asking all schools in the four prefectures for temporary closures, partly because young people have a low risk of developing severe symptoms even if they get the coronavirus, sources familiar with the situation said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press