Mon, October 18, 2021


Japan likely to decide Monday on ending state of emergency

The decision on ending the pandemic-related state of emergency may come as early as Monday. The emergency has currently been declared in effect through Sept. 30 for 19 prefectures including Tokyo. Even if the emergency is allowed to end on that date, the government may shift some prefectures to pre-emergency priority measures.

Nationwide, new infection numbers and hospital bed occupancy rates have improved significantly, so the government is considering letting the emergency end for many municipalities.

As of Tuesday, the occupancy rate of hospital beds for critical COVID-19 cases has fallen below the threshold for stage 4 in all 19 prefectures except Tokyo, according to the Cabinet Secretariat. The severest level of stage 4 is the usual basis for declaring a state of emergency related to the novel coronavirus.

“As long as the occupancy rate of hospital beds goes down, we can fully end the emergency,” a senior government official said.

Some people are cautious about ending the emergency in Okinawa and other prefectures where the number of newly infected people or those undergoing treatment remains high. The government plans to make the decision after hearing the opinions of experts.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga discussed the infection situation with relevant ministers at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, ahead of his visit to the United States from Thursday to Sunday.

Suga will hold another round of talks with relevant ministers on Monday to determine how to handle the emergency for the 19 prefectures and priority measures currently applied to eight other prefectures. A schedule will then be formulated for the formal decision to be made the following day during a government task force meeting.

In connection with this, Hiroshi Moriyama, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee, and Jun Azumi, his counterpart in the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, met in the Diet Building on Wednesday and agreed to receive the report from the government on the handling of the emergency and related matters at the steering committee of both houses of the Diet on Sept. 28.Speech

Published : September 24, 2021