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GOJ plans to extend nationwide state of emergency by about a month

  • April 30, 2020
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All national dailies led with reports claiming that the GOJ has decided to extend the current nationwide state of emergency declaration that is set to expire on May 6 by about a month. Nikkei wrote that the GOJ will make a final decision after hearing views from experts on Friday when they meet to examine the extent of the spread of infection, the rate of reduction in people’s outings, and the degree of improvement in the medical treatment system for COVID-19. The paper speculated that the GOJ made the decision because although three weeks have passed since it declared a state of emergency on April 7, the number of infections has not dropped to a satisfactory level especially in urban areas, and local governments are calling for an extension of the declaration. Yomiuri conjectured that the GOJ has decided to extend the state of emergency beyond May 6 based on the judgement that an extension will be necessary to bring the virus under control without fail. Mainichi quoted a GOJ source as saying that the government may allow prefectural governors to make their own decisions in easing stay-at-home requests and school closures in a flexible manner even under the continued state of emergency.


Prime Minister Abe said at an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday that it would be difficult for the government to end the state of emergency on May 6 because the situation in Japan remains severe. Nikkei wrote that the GOJ will discuss multiple options, including May 31 and June 7, for the new expiration date for the declaration, and possibly extend it again if the situation does not improve. Yomiuri wrote that setting the expiration date at the end of May is a strong possibility. Quoting Abe as saying at the budget committee meeting on Wednesday that he will announce his decision ahead of May 6 to avoid any possible confusion, Nikkei speculated that the premier will announce his decision after the experts’ meeting on May 1 and officially decide on the details on May 4 or later. 


In a related development, Yomiuri and Asahi wrote that the National Governors’ Association decided on Wednesday to call on the central government to extend the nationwide state of emergency beyond May 6. However, during a videoconference on Wednesday, the governors of several prefectures that are not facing serious situations expressed caution about a uniform extension of emergency steps, expressing concern over the measures’ impact on their local economies.

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