To Act Soon on Virus Emergency in Kansai If Needed: Suga

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Sunday that the government is preparing "to act soon if needed" on a possible inclusion of three prefectures in the Kansai western region in a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus.

The government will make a decision after watching the infection situations in the prefectures--Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo--in the next few days and based on opinions of experts, he said in a television program. "I'm aware that the situations in the three prefectures are tense," Suga said.

The government put Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, where the virus is spreading rapidly, under the fresh state of emergency on Friday. The emergency declaration is slated to remain in place until Feb. 7.

The governors of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo asked the central government Saturday to add the three prefectures to the state of emergency, noting that new infection cases are increasing there.

Suga pinned hopes on a bill to revise the special law on the fight against the coronavirus, which will be submitted to the regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, to be convened on Jan. 18. Through the revision, the government seeks to introduce penalties on eating and drinking establishments refusing to comply with authorities' requests for cutting operating hours.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press