Tokyo, Sept. 26 (Jiji Press)–Japanese prefectural governors called on the central government Saturday to continue in and after fiscal 2021 its program to provide local governments with grants for financing measures against the novel coronavirus.
The request is part of urgent proposals adopted at the day’s online meeting of the National Governors’ Association.
The governors also agreed to set up a body within the association to consider policy proposals over the central government’s work to promote the digitization of administrative procedures.
They requested the state to consider increasing the amount of the grants and allowing more flexible use of the aid so that local governments can spend the money on economic and employment measures responding to their respective needs.
On a series of state-backed “Go To” campaigns for shoring up the economy amid the viral epidemic, the governors proposed that areas with a spike in coronavirus infection cases be excluded swiftly.
The central government was also urged to be careful about considering relaxing its coronavirus-related entry ban in order to make sure that an easing will not lead to a spread of infection.
The governors also called on the state to make the country’s medical system fully prepared for a possible simultaneous spread of the novel coronavirus and seasonal influenza, as well as to help medical institutions keep running.
In the videoconference, many governors presented their opinions over the digitalization of administrative procedures, one of key policies of the administration of new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office earlier this month.
“We need to accelerate digitization further in cooperation with the state,” said Tsugumasa Muraoka, governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan.
Kamon Iizumi, head of the association and governor of the western prefecture of Tokushima, said he hopes that all prefectures will take part in the envisioned body for considering digitization policy proposals.
Also in the meeting, many governors urged the central government to extend its three-year program for making Japan more resilient to disasters, which is set to expire at the March 2021 end of fiscal 2020.