Opposition Parties Rap PM Suga over Virus Emergency

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 4 (Jiji Press)--Opposition parties in Japan criticized as being too late Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's decision Monday to consider issuing a fresh emergency declaration over the novel coronavirus for the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano told reporters that that the CDP "has been calling on the government to declare a state of emergency since mid-December." It is "very regrettable" that Suga announced his decision after the turn of the year, Edano added.

At his New Year's press conference, Suga said that the government will consider declaring a state of emergency for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures--Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa--due to the growing spread of the coronavirus in the four prefectures. He also said that a bill to revise the special measures law against the virus will be submitted to the regular session of the Diet, the country's parliament, to be convened on Jan. 18.

Edano urged the government to offer sufficient compensation to eating and drinking establishments that accept business suspension requests under the revised special measures law while voicing caution over the idea of imposing penalties on noncompliant businesses.

Japanese Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii separately told reporters that the new emergency declaration is "inevitable," adding, "The Suga administration's failure to take action has led to the current (dire) situation, so its responsibility is extremely heavy."

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