Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo Ask Japan Govt for Virus Emergency

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Tokyo, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)--The governors of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures asked the Japanese government on Saturday to issue an emergency declaration for the western prefectures over the novel coronavirus.

The governors made the request for the declaration based on the special measures law for the fight against the epidemic at an online meeting with economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who leads the state's efforts to contain the health crisis.

"We will consider (the request) based on opinions from experts," Nishimura told reporters after the meeting, suggesting that the central government will make a careful examination while closely watching the regional coronavirus situations.

The three governors told the minister that the number of new coronavirus infection cases started to surge after the turn of the year, putting the local medical systems under severe strain. They stressed the need for the prefectures to take necessary measures in cooperation with the central government.

On Thursday, the Japanese government declared a fresh state of emergency for Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, where the virus is spreading rapidly. Under the state of emergency, which took effect on Friday and will last until Feb. 7, the central government, among other things, is calling on eating and drinking establishments in the prefectures to shorten business hours.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press