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Governors to be allowed to take steps without emergency

  • January 12, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 10:04 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to authorize prefectural governors to take stronger coronavirus countermeasures even without a state of emergency in place, officials said Tuesday.

 

To implement the plan, the government will revise the special measures law for tackling the pandemic during a parliamentary session set to begin on Monday. It aims to adopt a revision bill as early as next week.

 

According to an outline of the bill shown at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, prefectural governors designated by the prime minister will be allowed to request businesses to change their opening hours, even without a coronavirus emergency declaration from the government.

 

If a business fails to meet the request without a good reason, the governor will be allowed to order it to do so. Businesses will face fines if they do not follow the order.

 

Also, governors will be authorized to request citizens not to use establishments when they are operating during hours in which they should not do so.

 

If the government declares an emergency, governors will be able to issue an “order,” which is stronger than an “instruction” allowed under the current law, if businesses do not follow a “request.” Businesses that violate the order will be subject to fines.

 

The bill will also call for the government’s efforts to implement necessary fiscal steps to support pandemic-stricken businesses.

 

It will also stipulate that the central and local governments conduct educational activities to eliminate discrimination against patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

 

The bill will also allow the prime minister to order governors to implement countermeasures before issuing an emergency declaration, in a bid to increase the effectiveness of measures taken by the state.

 

In December, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on the Tokyo metropolitan government to shorten operating hours at bars and restaurants in the capital. But Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike did not follow the request.

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