Tokyo, April 24 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is poised to postpone a visit planned late this month to Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, as a fresh state of emergency over the novel coronavirus is set to be declared, government officials said Saturday.
The state of emergency will take effect on Sunday and is slated to remain in place until May 11, covering Tokyo and the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.
Suga believes that now is not the appropriate time to travel across prefectural borders, according to the officials. A new schedule for his Ise Jingu visit will be arranged after the state of emergency is lifted, they said.
Japan’s prime minister customarily visits Ise Jingu at the beginning of the year.
Suga was scheduled to make his first visit to the shrine in January since taking office in September last year, but ended up canceling the trip due to the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, Suga had considered paying a visit on Sunday.
Suga has also canceled his overseas trips planned during the Golden Week holiday period starting later this month.
An official said that the prime minister decided to cancel the overseas travel to show his determination to concentrate on coronavirus countermeasures.
“The prime minister should not travel within Japan or abroad when we are trying to reduce people’s movements” to curb coronavirus infections, the official added.