[Update, January 5] Kyodo News reports that Prime Minister Suga says he will make a decision about declaring a state of emergency on Thursday January 7.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a press conference on Monday January 4 that he was considering declaring a state of emergency in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba this week, according to The Japan Times. Suga made the announcement after the governors of all four prefectures publicly joined together on Saturday January 2 and asked Suga to declare an emergency.
Covid-19 cases in and around Tokyo have continued to rise over the Christmas-New Year period, prompting calls for greater action. According to Kyodo News, the four prefectures are also planning to jointly ask restaurants and other venues serving food and drink to close by 8pm starting on Thursday or Friday.
Although prefectural governments can take steps like that without an official state of emergency, a declaration from the central government would give them greater power to encourage people to stay home and requisition supplies and buildings for emergency medical use.
Tokyo was previously under a state of emergency during Japan’s first wave of cases back in April – the declaration was later expanded nationwide. The Kyodo News report quotes Suga saying the potential new state of emergency should be implemented ‘in a limited and focused manner.’ Officials said the state of emergency could last for about one month, beginning on Saturday January 9.
Tokyo reported 884 new coronavirus cases today, including a record 108 serious cases.
Keep up with the latest Covid-19 news in Tokyo and Japan here.