Tokyo, Jan 2 (efe-epa).- The local authorities in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures on Saturday asked Japan’s central government to declare a state of emergency due to the record levels of coronavirus infections that these regions have been seeing.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and the Governors of Saitama (Motohiro Ono), Chiba (Kensaku Morita) and Kanagawa (Yuji Kuroiwa) made the request during a meeting with the minister in charge of the pandemic, Yasutoshi Nishimura.
“We have all agreed that we are in a severe situation that allows us to consider declaring a state of emergency,” Nishimura said at the end of the meeting with the governors, in a statement released by Kyodo agency.
Nishimura asked the four governors to reduce the opening hours of bars and restaurants and force them to close at 8 pm and to urge citizens to stay home after that cutoff, while assuring them that the central government plans to expand aid programs for those establishments that cooperate with the measures.
The four regional leaders agreed to adopt the regulations, with Koike saying “all necessary measures will be taken to stop the current wave of infections”.
The meeting came after Japan reported a record number of more than 4,000 daily cases on Thursday, when Tokyo also surpassed the 1,000 mark for the first time.
The other three prefectures have also recorded record numbers in recent days.
The central government already declared a state of emergency at the beginning of April in several prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, and later extended it to the entire country before lifting it at the end of May.
The state of emergency allowed local authorities to ban mass events, close schools or regulate bar and restaurant hours, but the measures did not include lockdowns and did not resort to sanctions. EFE-EPA