The Japanese government is discussing whether to extend the state of emergency declaration over the new coronavirus to more prefectures. Hokkaido, Aichi, and Kyoto prefectures continue to see increases in number of infections. By the end of this week, the government will consult experts’ opinions concerning these prefectures and begin formalities towards their addition.
A government insider said on the night of April 15 that “there are several prefectures whose infection situation is similar to those covered by the declaration as of April 7.” The government will make a careful decision based on incoming data such as the rate of increase in new infections and the proportion of untraceable infections. The state of emergency for the added prefectures would last until May 6, the same day as for those initially covered by the declaration.
The governors of some prefectures have declared states of emergency not in accordance with the special measures law. If the Japanese government makes a formal decision [for a prefecture to be included ] in a state of emergency, the prefecture can use the special measures law as a basis to request the prefecture’s residents not leave their homes unnecessarily in order to stop the spread of infection. The prefecture will also be able to limit private rights in the utilization of land and buildings in order to set up temporary medical facilities.
Aichi and Kyoto prefectures requested on April 8 and 10, respectively, that the Japanese government extend the state of emergency to cover them. Some in the government say they should wait to examine the outcomes of the prefecture-level state of emergency declarations. The central government has continued to analyze whether there is a possibility of a sudden increase in infections.
The main metrics in the analysis are the same as the following three for the seven prefectures: 1) cumulative number of infections; 2) time for the number of infections to double; and 3) proportion of untraceable cases. The readiness of medical facilities, such as number of beds, is also taken into account.
The government task force headquarters will soon make a decision on the addition of prefectures to be covered by the state of emergency upon receipt of expert opinion and approval.