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Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, March 4, 2021

The following is the gist of interpellations at the budget committee meeting of the House of Councillors on March 4, 2021:

 

State of emergency declaration

 

Masayuki Tokushige (Liberal Democratic Party): Why will the government extend the state of emergency for Tokyo and three of its neighboring prefectures?

 

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga: We are in a crucial stage to contain COVID-19 infections. We are still facing some difficulties, including the high rate of occupancy of hospital beds. I think the declaration needs to be extended by about two weeks to protect the people’s lives and livelihoods. I will make a final decision after fully listening to the opinions of experts and related parties.

 

Daisuke Katayama (Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party]): What is your opinion as an expert?

 

Chair of the government’s expert panel on coronavirus measures Shigeru Omi: The Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area is more likely to see a rebound in new cases than other areas. The decision to extend [the declaration] is the right choice.

 

Tetsuji Isozaki (Democratic Party for the People): The declaration can also be extended by one month and

lifted early.

 

Suga: I think cooperation from the public for two more weeks or so would lead to curbing virus infections.

 

Medical care system

 

Makoto Nishida (Komeito): The medical care system will collapse unless it is reinforced.

 

Suga: We are providing strong financial support to hospitals accepting COVID-19 patients. We want to secure medical care systems through close cooperation among the central government, regional governments, and medical workers.

 

Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

 

Katayama: Will foreign visitors be barred from the Tokyo Games? 

 

Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Tamayo Marukawa: We will make a decision by the

end of March by taking into consideration the infection situations in and outside of Japan, quarantine measures,

and scientific knowledge.

 

Nuclear power policy

 

Katayama: Is the government considering building new nuclear power plants?

 

Suga: The government’s basic stance is that we are not considering to do so at this moment. (Abridged)

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