Tokyo, Other Prefectures Request COVID-19 Quasi-State of Emergency

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Government is expected to make decision as early as Wednesday

The Japanese government is considering declaring a quasi-state of emergency in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa prefectures after their respective governors revealed their intentions to ask for the quasi-state of emergency amid the rise of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country due to the new Omicron variant.

Other prefectures such as Aichi, Gifu, Mie, and Niigata also plan to ask the government to declare a quasi-state of emergency. The government is also preparing to declare a quasi-state of emergency in Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki prefectures.

The country as a whole reported more than 20,000 new cases of the virus nationwide for four consecutive days as of Monday. In Tokyo, the occupancy rate of hospital beds is now above 20%, which is the threshold the Tokyo government views as needed to ask the national government to implement a quasi-state of emergency.

The government is expected to make a decision as early as Wednesday.

Relatedly, while the government still has a ban on new foreign entrants in place until the end of February, the country does plan to allow 87 foreign students to enter the country as a special case.

Japan declared a quasi-state of emergency in Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures earlier this month, which is planned to last from January 9-31.

Previous quasi-states of emergency, which have less strict guidelines compared to a full state of emergency, have asked dining and drinking establishments to stop selling alcohol, limit their hours, and limit the number of customers. They have also offered some financial compensation to businesses that comply with the guidelines, and they imposed additional anti-virus measures.

Japan last ended a full state of emergency in 19 prefectures last September. That state of emergency started in July (although Okinawa had then already been under a state of emergency for four months).

Update: Gunma and Kagawa prefectures also requested a quasi-state of emergency, and the national government granted the requests on Wednesday from these and the other prefectures from January 21 to February 13. However, Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto have yet to make requests.

Sources: NHK World, (link 2, link 3)

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