FOCUS: Prolonged Pre-Emergency May Make Early Economic Reopening Difficult
Tokyo, Feb. 12 (Jiji Press)--With the ongoing novel coronavirus pre-emergency designation covering three-fourths of Japan's 47 prefectures and lasting until early March for some of them, the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may find it increasingly difficult to reopen the economy next month.
The current pre-emergency designation started Jan. 9 amid the sixth wave of infections, first covering three prefectures--Okinawa in southernmost Japan, and Hiroshima and Yamaguchi in western Japan.
It now applies to more than 30 prefectures, including Tokyo, but effective measures to deal with the highly transmissible omicron variant have yet to be found.
On Thursday, the government decided to extend the designation for Tokyo and 12 other prefectures for three weeks until March 6. The western prefecture of Kochi, which was added to the pre-emergency list Saturday, will also see the measure run until March 6.
Many in the government believe that the pre-emergency status for 22 other prefectures will be extended also until the same day.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]