JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Japan PM says to consider state of emergency for Tokyo area

Monday, January 04, 2021, 09:54 GMT+7
Japan PM says to consider state of emergency for Tokyo area
Year-end shoppers wearing protective face masks are reflected on mirrors at a shopping and amusement district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan December 31, 2020. Photo: Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday the government would consider declaring a state of emergency for the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area as coronavirus cases climb and strain the country’s medical system.

Japan saw a record 4,520 new cases on Dec. 31 in a fresh wave of infections, prompting the capital, Tokyo, and three neighbouring prefectures to seek an emergency declaration from the national government. The region accounted for more than half of the nationwide cases on Sunday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has resisted those calls, mindful of the potential damage to the economy.

As an interim measure, restaurants and karaoke parlours in the Tokyo area are being asked to close at 8 p.m. - earlier than the previous 10 p.m. - while businesses that serve alcohol should close at 7 p.m.

“Even during the three days of the New Year’s holiday, cases didn’t go down in the greater Tokyo area,” Suga said at a news conference to mark the start of 2021. “We felt that a stronger message was needed.”

He noted that shortening business hours for restaurants had helped stem the rise of infections in some regions, including Osaka and Hokkaido.

If declared, it would be the second time parts of Japan have entered a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. The first lasted for more than a month last spring, when schools and non-essential businesses were asked to close.

Japan has relied on voluntary closures and travel restrictions rather than the sort of rigid lockdown measures seen elsewhere in the world.

Although the case numbers in Japan pale in comparison to many parts of Europe and the Americas, Suga has the challenge of hosting the Olympics in Tokyo this summer after the pandemic caused the Games’ first-ever delay in 2020.

Japan last month said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country after the detection of the new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.

Reuters

More

Read more

Explainer: China's new COVID-19 outbreaks

There is no indication that it was related to any recent imported cases, though officials said on Wednesday that the initial case might have been a traveller from overseas

2 days ago
;

Photos

VIDEOS

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Vietnamese-made app allows people to grow real veggies via smartphone

Nguyen Thi Duyen, a young engineer in Hanoi, developed the app and its related services to help busy people create their own veggie gardens.

Latest news