NHK: Japan May Not Fully Lift COVID-19 State of Emergency on May 6
posted on by Egan Loo
NHK reported on Sunday that the Japanese government may not fully lift the nationwide state of emergency for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on May 6 as planned. Medical experts noted that the rate of new infections has not slowed as much as they expected. Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi added that the government must decide whether or not to lift the state of emergency well in advance of May 6, to allow schools and companies to prepare. The government's COVID-19 task force of experts will meet this week to advise the government on if and how to lift the state of emergency.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike asked schools to remain closed through at least May 8. May 6 marks the end of Japan's Golden Week string of holidays in 2020, but May 7 and May 8 fall on Thursday and Friday this year. Aichi and Ibaraki prefectures plan to keep high schools closed (and request elementary and junior high schools to follow suit) until the end of May.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka from April 7 to May 6. Kyoto Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki asked the Japanese government on April 10 to add Kyoto to the state of emergency. Aichi Governor Hideaki Ōmura similarly asked the Japanese government on April 16 to add his prefecture to the list, and then independently declared a state of emergency on April 17. Hokkaido had lifted its own three-week state of emergency on March 19, only to declare a second state of emergency on April 12.
Abe then announced on April 16 that the national government is expanding the state of emergency nationwide until May 6. As required by the newly enacted law that allowed for this declaration, Abe met with the government's COVID-19 task force of experts before formally announcing the expansion.