April 24 2020
TOKYO – The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is increasingly expected to at least partially extend its state of emergency declared over the coronavirus epidemic, which is currently slated to expire on May 6, sources said Friday.
At a meeting of the government’s coronavirus response headquarters held at the prime minister’s office on Friday, Abe called on citizens to refrain from going out and cooperate to reduce interactions by 80 pct during the Golden Week holiday period, which starts later this month and ends on May 6. He is expected to decide whether to lift the state of emergency or to continue it based on infection levels during the holiday period.
“It is now an extremely important period for bringing the state of emergency to a swift close,” Abe said at the meeting. “We’ll speed up efforts to reduce interactions by 80 pct,” he said, indicating that the names of businesses that are defying requests to close temporarily to help bring the epidemic under control could be disclosed.
At a press conference the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refrained from commenting on whether the state of emergency will be extended, saying, “The situation is changing by the minute.”