TOKYO – Less than a week after declaring a state of emergency for Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga placed seven additional prefectures under the declaration after local governors asked the central government to include their jurisdictions amid a surge in COVID-19 infections across Japan.
Suga included Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka in the measure.
The Japanese premier called this latest measure as “indispensable” and “unavoidable.”
“I would like to ask for your understanding,” Suga appealed to the public at a press conference on Wednesday.
Suga said it is necessary to mobilize all anti-infection measures including shortening of business hours in bars and restaurants to 8 p.m., reducing the number of commuters by 70 percent through teleworking, asking people to avoid non-essential outings and to refrain from attending various events.
“We have to overcome this adversity, and I ask for your cooperation,” he said.
The state of emergency, which now covers a total of 11 prefectures, will last until Feb. 7.
Japan’s cumulative total of COVID-19 cases topped 300,000 the same day Suga made the announcement. - Florenda Corpuz
(Photo courtesy of Cabinet Public Relations Office, Cabinet Secretariat)