Tokyo, May 12 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government said Tuesday it will add four economic experts, including a behavioral economics professor, in its advisory committee on basic response policies for the novel coronavirus.
The panel, where infectious diseases experts have had a major presence, will seek to balance voices for infection prevention with those in favor of maintaining economic and social activity.
The new members are Fumio Otake, a behavioral economics professor at Osaka University, Yoko Ibuka, a medical economics professor at Keio University, Keiichiro Kobayashi, research director at the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research specializing in macroeconomics, and Shunpei Takemori, an international economics professor at Keio University.
“We must achieve the protection of both lives and livelihoods,” Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a press conference.
Takemori is also a member of the government’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. The government hopes he will be a facilitator between the council and the advisory panel.
Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Nishimura and health minister Katsunobu Kato to analyze infection levels and states of medical systems nationwide, as the government is expected to make a decision on a partial lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency Thursday.
“We’re steadily headed toward a resolution,” Abe said at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japanese parliament. “We’re moving step by step to the exit, beyond the state of emergency.”
Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated that the nationwide extension of requests for citizens not to travel between prefectures is undesirable, saying that “the coronavirus is having a severe impact on the tourism industry.”
The comment came after the National Governors’ Association asked the central government to continue urging citizens not to travel between prefectures.
The national government is planning to stop the request for voluntary restrictions on travel between prefectures where the state of emergency is lifted.