The Saturday editions of all national dailies gave top play to the GOJ’s formal decision on Friday to put Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo under a fresh COVID-19 state of emergency for 17 days from April 25 through May 11. Prime Minister Suga told reporters that the government will take intensive measures to prevent the virus from spreading further in the face of a rise in new cases involving more contagious COVID-19 variants.
The stricter measures under the new emergency declaration include requests for eateries and other establishments that provide alcohol or karaoke services to close temporarily. Eateries that do not serve alcohol are being asked to close by 8 p.m. The measures also include requests for department stores and large-scale shopping complexes to temporarily close their facilities except for sections selling daily necessities. Amusement parks, large-scale movie theaters, and museums are also being asked to close. Organizers of sporting and other events will need to hold them without spectators in principle. Railroad and bus operators are being requested to reduce service on holidays and weekends. The government is also asking companies to increase teleworking to 70%.
According to the papers’ Sunday editions, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in Chiba Prefecture will continue to operate beyond Sunday but stop offering alcohol starting on Wednesday, while theme parks in Tokyo and Osaka, including Universal Studios Japan, have decided to close temporarily. Nippon Professional Baseball decided on Saturday to hold games without spectators in areas under the state of emergency starting on Monday, while the Japan Professional Football League announced on Saturday that it will hold games without spectators in Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo and make a decision on those in Tokyo in the near future.
Asahi wrote that some experts are skeptical about the emergency declaration’s effectiveness, saying that 17 days will not be sufficient to curb the spread of the virus and speculating that it will take at least 30 days to determine the effectiveness of the measures.