Japan’s Prime Minister Has Just Declared a State of Emergency in 7 Prefectures
Households affected will be given ¥300,000.
The Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters was held at the Prime Minister’s Office, where Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo as well as 6 other prefectures. Included in the declaration are Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka. The state of emergency is set for one month beginning today, April 7.
The increase in confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 has prompted the declaration. The Prime Minister shared the details of the measures in a press con, emphasizing the introduction of economic measures of ¥108 trillion or 20% of the country’s gross domestic product. The budget will be used to build medical treatment facilities, double up PCR testing capacities, and secure more hospital beds and ventilators.
The goal of the declaration is to protect the public. While the Basic Action Policy on COVID-19 countermeasures have already been implemented, the surge of cases in urban areas has already put a strain on medical institutions. The state of emergency allows the local government to call for stricter measures to reduce the transmission of the disease from one person to another.
The government will provide cash payments of ¥300,000 for those households in need. Micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses (¥2,000,000) as well individual business owners (¥1,000,000) who are affected by the declaration will also receive support. “We must also firmly protect employment. We will ensure the protection of employment by supporting business continuity through making interest free loans available at the private financial institutions and introducing a grace period for the payment of national taxes and social security premium, totaling [an] unprecedented scale of ¥26 trillion,” Prime Minister said in the meeting.
Unlike lockdowns seen in other countries, the Prime Minister assures the public that during the state of emergency, public transportation (such as trains) and supermarkets will remain open. While people can go out to buy essentials, they are still encouraged to “avoid the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact setting).”