Japan declares emergency amid COVID-19 outbreak

Japan's Prime Minister also informed that there will not be a European-style lockdown. Only Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and the heads of 6 other prefectures will be permitted to reinforce calls for social distancing.

Apr 8, 2020 14:04 IST
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Japan’s PM, Shinzo Abe on April 7, 2020, declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six-other prefectures till May 6. The decision has come in the light of rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.

The state of emergency has been declared in seven prefectures of Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, and Saitama, neighboring Chiba, Hyogo in the west and Fukuoka in the south. Japan has a total of 47 prefectures.

The Prime Minister also informed that there will not be a European-style lockdown. Only Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and the heads of 6 other prefectures will be permitted to reinforce calls for social distancing. There will be no penalty enforcement for violations.

State of Emergency in Japan: Key Highlights

The announcement of an emergency can be credited to the rising cases rising new cases in Tokyo. Nationwide, Japan has 3,906 confirmed cases.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike welcomed measures such as social distancing. The Governor also mentioned that because the measures are legally valid and involve a coordinated action with central govt, the actions will successfully prevail among the people.

Japan’s government was thought to have delayed the emergency as it may hurt the economy. But with the rise in a pandemic, there was a constant demand for drastic actions from public and medical experts.

Violators will be penalized under a state of emergency only in cases where they fail to comply with orders on providing or storing the emergency relief goods.

Key measures undertaken during the state of emergency

Stay at home request

Guidance to schools for temporary closure

Closure request to non-essential businesses and stores

Cancel or postpone events and exhibits

How the Japan’s State of Emergency is different from Europe’s Lockdown:

Prime Minister Abe repeatedly mentioned that there will be no hard lockdown as enforced in France or Italy. There will only be a request to support the measures taken during the state of emergency.

Japan’s limited action during the state of emergency comes from its experience with repression and disasters that were the result of fascists governments before and during the Second World War.

Medical and Other Health care facility in Japan:

As per Osamu Nishida, chairman of the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine, Japan has only 5 ICU beds per 1,00,000 people in comparison to 12 in Italy and about 30 beds in Germany.

However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned that the government has secured 25,000 beds and 8,000 ventilators. The health ministry has also allowed the transfer of patients with no symptoms or slight illness to hotels and other designated lodgings. This move will free up the beds for severely ill patients.

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