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Abe seeks cooperation from opposition camp on a special measures law

The Abe administration will amend the Special Measures Act on New Influenza to cope with the spread of new coronavirus infections. The original law was enacted in April, 2012, with knowledge gained from an outbreak of a new strain of influenza in 2009. Currently, the 2012 law applies only to new strains of influenza, re-emerging influenza whose original strain had spread significantly in the past, and new infectious diseases. The amendment will enable the government to apply the emergency law to the new coronavirus, which is neither an influenza virus nor a new infectious disease. (Abridged)


Gist of proposed amendments to the new special measures law

·       The new coronavirus infection will be added to the list of diseases subject to the 2012 special measures law designed to cope with a new influenza strain.

·       The special measures law may be applied to the new coronavirus for up to two years from February 1. The duration will be established by a government ordinance.

·       The government can declare a state of emergency if the lives of citizens or the national economy face a serious threat.

·       If the national government declares a state of emergency, prefectural governors may ask citizens to stay home, request closure of schools, request restriction of use of event venues, and take other measures.

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