Suga Cites Difficulty in Deciding Whether to Lift Emergency


Tokyo, May 4 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told an infectious disease expert Tuesday that he is finding it difficult to decide whether to lift the country's third coronavirus state of emergency, now set to run through May 11, the expert, Nobuhiko Okabe, said the same day.

Meeting with Okabe, a special adviser to the cabinet and member of the government's advisory board on the coronavirus epidemic, at the prime minister's official residence, Suga said that infection numbers are not coming down, according to Okabe.

The two also exchanged opinions about the requests made by prefectures across the country for putting them in the coronavirus pre-emergency stage, where powerful "priority" measures similar to those under a state of emergency can be taken. When Okabe said that measures should be taken in such prefectures as soon as possible, Suga said he thinks the same way.

After the meeting with Suga, Okabe told reporters, "I think the prime minister is very much worried" about whether to lift the state of emergency, currently in effect in Tokyo and the three western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.

At the same time, Okabe said, "A certain judgment must be made some short while after the (Golden Week) holiday period ends."

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Jiji Press