[Update, January 13, 7pm] Kyodo News reports that Prime Minister Suga has announced the addition of the following seven prefectures to the state of emergency: Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu, Tochigi and Fukuoka, all of which will be subject to the existing emergency rules. The state of emergency now covers 11 prefectures, which represent more than half the population of Japan. Suga also announced a ban on all foreign arrivals to Japan (except foreign-born residents) for the length of the emergency.
[Update, January 13, 1pm] Though the expansion for the state of emergency has yet to be announced, reports are now suggesting a total of seven new prefectures will be included in the declaration. The official announcement is expected to be made by Prime Minister Suga at a press conference this evening. The prefectures added would be Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Gifu, Fukuoka, and Tochigi.
After repeated calls from governors to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga officially announced a second state of emergency for the four Kanto prefectures on January 7. Now, it seems the declaration will be extended to another three prefectures in the Kansai region.
According to The Japan Times, Suga made the decision to include Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures at a Liberal Democratic Party meeting this morning. He is expected to announce the expanded state of emergency as soon as tomorrow, Wednesday January 13.
Restrictions are expected to be the same as they are for the other prefectures currently in the state of emergency, which means bars and restaurants will be expected to close by 8pm and stop serving alcohol by 7pm. In addition, residents will be asked not to go out past 8pm unless absolutely necessary. The state of emergency is planned to end on February 7.
The governors of Gifu and Aichi prefectures are also apparently pushing for the declaration to be expanded to central Japan.
As of 6pm on January 11, Osaka had 481 newly reported coronaviruses cases whereas Hyogo reported 154 new cases and Kyoto reported 142. Tokyo had 1,219 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, which was an encouraging drop since its all-time high of 2,447 new cases reported on Thursday January 7.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
More from Time Out