State of Emergency Declared for Tokyo, 6 Other Prefectures

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On Tuesday April 8th, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and 6 other prefectures which have so far been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of emergency gives governors the power to request residents of their prefectures to stay inside their homes and that certain businesses close. “Although a state of emergency has been declared, it is not a lockdown of the city as has been seen overseas,” stated Abe.

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Unlike other countries which have imposed harsher penalties for those who refuse to stay indoors, persons who defy Japan’s State of Emergency order will not receive any form of punishment or penalties from the government.

The initial State of Emergency is slated to last for 1 month and will end on May 6th. The period will cover Japan’s Golden Week, normally one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. The affected prefectures under the declaration are: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

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Currently Tokyo has the highest number of coronavirus infections in Japan, followed by Osaka. The declaration also allows the government to commandeer private property to be used for medical purposes as seen fit. Governor Koike of Tokyo hinted at this last month when she suggested that the nearly complete, Olympic Athlete’s Village, be used to house coronavirus patients.

The move is expected to worsen problems with Japan’s economy which is already slated for a recession due to the postponement of the Olympic Games, as well as exacerbate a slouch in tourism and trade brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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