Phased resumption in activity to come as emergency ends in Japan

JAPAN (THE JAPAN NEWS/ANN) – The government decided yesterday to lift the state of emergency concerning the novel coronavirus that remains in effect in Hokkaido and the metropolitan area encompassing Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures.

The basic response policy, to be revised the same day, sets out guidelines for gradually expanding socioeconomic activities based on an assessment of the infection situation every three weeks. It calls for the medical system to make all possible preparations in case the infection spreads again.

A draft of the revised basic response policy, obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun, specifies that “the head of the government task force (Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) will declare the lifting of the emergency measures as it is recognised that there is no longer a need to implement them.”

In addition, it said, “It is necessary to establish a ‘new way of life’ throughout society and the economy entirely,” and called for continued efforts to prevent infection. By implementing preventive measures compiled by each industry, it made an appeal to “prevent the spread of infections and maintain socioeconomic activities in a sustainable manner.” It added that “it is important to strengthen the inspection system, strengthen the public health centre system and work on countermeasures against clusters” in case the infection spreads again.

In conjunction with the revision of the basic response policy, the government has compiled guidelines for a timetable to resuming socioeconomic activities. According to the draft guidelines, concerts and exhibitions will be allowed to resume upon the lifting of the state of emergency, but the maximum number of visitors must not surpass 100 for indoor venues and must not be more than 50 per cent of the capacity.

After June 19, about three weeks after the emergency is lifted, the maximum will be extended to 1,000 people.

People walk across a major crosswalk through the entertainment district near Shibuya station in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP