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LDP lawmakers seek swift revision of virus law

  • August 3, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 9:43 p.m.
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Tokyo, Aug. 3 (Jiji Press)–Members of the novel coronavirus task force of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday asked the government to revise swiftly the special measures law for the fight against the virus in order to strengthen administrative bodies’ authority for bringing the epidemic under control.

Some members called for allowing local governments to forcibly close businesses, apparently keeping in mind the possibility of introducing penalties on non-compliant operators under the law.

But the central government is cautious about an early revision.

Halting businesses “will lead to limiting private rights, and issues such as compensation related to business suspensions will also arise,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference the same day.

At a liaison meeting on the day, the government and the ruling coalition reconfirmed their cooperation on the policy of pushing ahead with both steps to curb infections and revitalize the economy.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of Komeito, the junior member in the coalition, called on the government to actively release information on the coronavirus epidemic to allay citizens’ worries, including through press conferences by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Citizens’ worries are growing day by day as infections have spread to regional areas,” Yamaguchi said.

“The government should exercise leadership and send out information on what measures are needed right now,” Yamaguchi said.

In talks with reporters after the meeting, he said, “Depending on the situation, the prime minister should directly explain to citizens.”

 Abe has not held a press conference since June 18.

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