TOKYO (April 21): The government plans to impose a fresh coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures soon as a surge in severe cases chokes the areas' health care systems, according to government sources.
The development comes after the Osaka prefectural government asked Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government Tuesday to issue such a declaration. The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to make a similar request in a matter of days, reported Kyodo.
Referring to Osaka's request, Suga said Tuesday that his government will "swiftly reach a conclusion after thoroughly assessing the situation and studying measures."
Osaka Gov Hirofumi Yoshimura seeks the temporary closure of major amusement and commercial facilities, in addition to current measures including asking establishments serving food and drinks to shorten business hours.
Touching on the sharp rise in infections in Hyogo, Suga said he will draw a conclusion after examining the situation there.
It would be the third time for the government to declare an emergency since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic early last year in Japan, and come just three months before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.
However, Suga has said a fresh state of emergency would not affect the hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics, reiterating that the government will continue efforts to stage a safe and secure games.
Once an emergency is declared, Yoshimura intends to cancel or postpone basically all events in Osaka Prefecture and ask companies again to implement telework, among other measures.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is eying requesting leisure facilities among other sectors to temporarily cease operations.
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