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Japan governors seek “Go To Travel” exclusion for high infection areas

  • November 23, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 5:31 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Nov. 23 (Jiji Press)–Japanese prefectural governors on Monday came up with a set of proposals to the state government over the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in the country, including the removal of areas in the Stage 3 situation from the Go To Travel campaign.

 

The package, adopted at an online meeting of the National Governors’ Association, also called on the central government to shoulder costs of travel cancellations following the exclusions in order to help related businesses and consumers avoid confusion. Stage 3, which shows a rapid increase in infection cases, is the second-worst level on the four-tier scale gauging the degree of spread of the novel coronavirus.
   

Kamon Iizumi, head of the group and governor of the western prefecture of Tokushima, said, “With Japan likely in the midst of the third wave of infections, the central government needs to issue a strong message to the public about measures it plans to take from now and the current infection situation.”
   

“The 47 prefectures of the country should unite and work with the central government with a determination to contain the coronavirus crisis by preventing the alert from rising to Level 4 by all means,” Iizumi added.
   

Iizumi told a press conference after the videoconference that he will submit the association’s proposals to economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of the government’s coronavirus responses, at an early date.
   

The central government decided Saturday to review the operations of its Go To series campaigns in some areas, including the suspension of reservations under Go To Travel and the distribution of meal vouchers under the Go To Eat program, in cooperation with prefectural governors.
   

In the package, the governors association said that whether prefectures are in the Stage 3 situation should be determined through consultations between the prefectural and central governments and that a system should be created to allow the exclusion of limited areas, rather than the entire prefectures, from the Go To Travel campaign.
   

As to the Go To Eat campaign, the association called for making sure that users of the scheme wear face masks during dining and thoroughly disinfect their hands, as well as allowing respective local authorities to make flexible decisions to limit the number of people in each group visiting eating and drinking establishments using the program.
   

The central government was urged to release details of its decision to temporarily halt the Go To Eat campaign, including the period of suspension, as soon as possible.
   

The association also adopted a declaration to warn the public of the third wave of infections, in which people were asked to deconcentrate year-end and New Year holidays and take other measures to reduce the risk of being infected with the virus. “We are resolved to overcome the crisis by doing all we can,” the declaration said.
   

The videoconference had about 30 participants, including representatives of governors.
   

Tomikazu Fukuda, governor of Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, said, “The review cannot be helped, but the central government has not announced a detailed policy, such as areas to be covered and when the review will take effect.”
   

Shuichi Abe, governor of Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, called on the state to give a reasonable explanation regarding the limitation of the number of people under the Go To Eat campaign.

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