Japan to extend state of emergency over virus: Reports

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to extend a nationwide state of emergency imposed over the coronavirus, possibly by another month, local media reported yesterday.

The measure was initially declared on April 7 across seven regions experiencing a spike in infections, but was later expanded to cover the entire country.

With the initial month-long period coming to an end next week after the country’s annual Golden Week holidays, local media reported that Abe was now expected to extend the measure, either until the end of May or for another full month until June 6.

In Parliament yesterday, Abe said the country’s healthcare system continues to face an “extremely tough situation.” He told lawmakers that “even now, we are seeing new infections,” adding, “Can we say on May 6 the state of emergency is over? I think severe situations are continuing.”

Local media newspaper reported the government would convene a panel of experts today to discuss the virus and the state of emergency, adding that the experts had already informally backed a move to extend the measures. It was not yet clear when any extension would be announced, but Abe has said he will not wait until the last minute, to allow business and institutions including schools time to prepare accordingly.

Despite the government’s request to stay home, people visit Arisugawa Park in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP