Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to declare a 7 April state of emergency for seven provinces, including Tokyo and Osaka, in an effort to contain the spread of corona virus.
According to Kyodo, the state of emergency will last for one month, starting from April 8. This measure allowed provincial governors to take more aggressive steps to prevent the disease, from requiring people not to go to the streets to restrict the operation of schools and other facilities.
The state of emergency will not be as severe as a blockade as it is being used by many other countries because of restrictions in the rule of law. By law, the Japanese government must consult an expert panel on infectious diseases and public health to expedite the declaration of an emergency.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to hold a press conference at 7pm on April 7 to explain his decision, according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan.
Infectious disease experts on the government advisory council have become increasingly concerned about the outbreak in Japan. More and more cases cannot be traced to the source of the infection. The number of positive cases increased markedly in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka.
Revision of the law in mid-March allowed Prime Minister Abe to declare a state of emergency for certain localities within certain time periods. The governors of Tokyo and Osaka have repeatedly called on Mr. Abe to use the new power, while the Japan Health Association also warned of the risk of the national health system collapsing.
Once declared a state of emergency, the governors of Chiba prefecture, Kanagawa, Saitama, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo were entitled to call for people to restrict unnecessary travel. Facilities such as schools, social welfare, theaters, music venues, stadiums are recommended to limit crowds or close. However, the province will not have the right to punish violating people and facilities.
In addition, local governments have the right to use land and private buildings for anti-epidemic efforts if the owners of these properties refuse to cooperate with improper reasons. The provincial governor is also allowed to solicit medical supplies and food from companies that refuse to sell, or punish speculators. Private companies can be mobilized to transport emergency cargo.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Japan has surpassed 4,800, with 108 fatalities. Tokyo has the highest number of cases nationwide with 1,116 cases.