After days of record coronavirus counts and a rapidly rising death toll, Japan declares a state of emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures on Thursday. It’s the country’s first such declaration since April 2020.
According to New York Times, the announcement by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came five days after governors from the affected prefectures had pleaded with the central government to act, and after his own coronavirus expert panel had recommended the emergency declaration, citing explosive growth in infections in the vast capital region.
“Deaths from the virus in Japan have doubled in less than two months, passing 3,700, and Tokyo’s governor has warned that the medical system is under stress. Mr. Suga had hesitated to invoke the emergency measure, hoping to preserve economic activity, but eventually bowed to the pressure from the Tokyo-area officials, as polls show widespread dissatisfaction with his four-month-old administration and its handling of the pandemic.”
The emergency declaration will last one month. However, health experts warn that it still might not be enough to turn the tide. The reason is that there is little legal sanctions. It mostly relies on voluntary compliance instead. The government is asking restaurants in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama Prefectures to close by 8 p.m., employers to encourage staff members to work from home, and residents to refrain from going out for all but the most essential tasks. Also after 8 p.m. Schools, museums, cinemas, gyms and shops will remain open.
Shigeru Omi, the head of the government’s expert panel, said that declaring a state of emergency would not guarantee much improvement.
“It’s not possible to control in a couple of weeks, or less than a month,” Mr. Omi said. “Stronger measures might be needed.”
“We are having too many cases to trace right now, and the state of emergency is coming too late.” said Fumie Sakamoto, an infection control manager at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo. “It’s better now than never, but it should have been declared probably in the fall last year.”
“Consumption in Japan could fall by 1.7 trillion yen ($16.5 billion) in a month under the emergency conditions. That’s according to an estimate by Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.”
We know that a lot of anime studios are in Tokyo. It wouldn’t be surprising if shows got delayed again like last year. The state of emergency in Tokyo could also get extended depending on results. Still, the most important thing is for everyone to keep safe and do everything they can to protect themselves. Everyone, stay safe!
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Source: New York Times