LDP, CDP Agree to Delete Criminal Punishments from Coronavirus Bill

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 28 (Jiji Press)--Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan agreed Thursday that a plan to introduce criminal penalties will be withdrawn from a government bill to revise a law related to the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The bill to revise the infectious disease law stipulates that coronavirus-infected people who refuse to be hospitalized or leave hospitals without permission be penalized with criminal fines of up to 1 million yen or a prison term of up to one year, and that those refusing to cooperate with public health offices' active epidemiological investigations to track infection routes face criminal fines of up to 500,000 yen.

Under the LDP-CDP agreement, the planned introduction of imprisonment will be scrapped, and the criminal fines will be replaced with administrative fines. The opposition side had objected to the prison term, saying that a penalty resulting in a criminal record is too strict. The LDP and the CDP also agreed to reduce the fines to 500,000 yen or less for people refusing hospitalization or leaving hospitals without permission, and to 300,000 yen or less for those failing to cooperate with active epidemiological surveys.

The amount of administrative fines to be imposed on businesses failing to comply with authorities' requests to cut opening hours or suspend operations, included in a bill to amend the special measures law combating the coronavirus epidemic, will also be reduced.

Specifically, the fines will be cut to 300,000 yen or less from 500,000 yen or less when a government-declared coronavirus state of emergency is in place, and to 200,000 yen or less from 300,000 yen or less during a pre-emergency period when intensive measures are taken to prevent the virus from spreading widely, according to the agreement.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press