3 Western Japan Prefectures to Be Added to COVID-19 Emergency

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Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that the government will expand its fresh novel coronavirus state of emergency to cover the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, which have been seeing spikes in the number of infection cases.

He unveiled the plan at a meeting of executives of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The COVID-19 state of emergency, which is based on the country's special measures law for the fight against the epidemic, currently covers Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa and is set to run until Feb. 7. The emergency for Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo is expected to be effective through the same day.

"I want to swiftly make a decision" on the inclusion of the three prefectures, Suga said. The Tokyo-area emergency went into effect on Friday.

The government will formalize the addition of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo at a meeting of its coronavirus response headquarters on Wednesday after hearing opinions of member experts of its advisory committee the same day. The three prefectures on Saturday asked the central government for their inclusion in the state of emergency.

The prefectural governments of Aichi and Gifu, both central Japan, are planning to request the state later on Tuesday to put them under the emergency declaration. They will be added to the list with the three western prefectures "if we can make it in time," a central government official said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press