Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Monday that he will declare a state of emergency on Tuesday 7 April 2020 based on Japan’s Special Measures Law in response to COVID-19.
The state of emergency will apply to Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka and is planned to be in effect until 6 May. Abe has decided that a stronger incentive for residents to stay home is required to prevent an explosive infection of COVID-19 that could potentially overwhelm the health system. This is the first such declaration of a state of emergency in Japan.
Government officials say that the state of emergency will take effect from midnight on the morning of 8 April.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the reason was to minimize contact between people that can lead to the spread of infection and to support the healthcare system. He added that he hopes for as much cooperation from civilians as possible in refraining from going out.
“Various businesses will stay open in order to maintain social function,” Abe said. “I request that the areas subject to this remain calm.”
While many nations outside of Japan have imposed strict lockdowns with fines or even arrests for breaking the rules, Abe stressed, “Cities are not in lockdown and it is the opinions of the experts that it is not necessary to do so.”