TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a meeting of ruling party executives on Tuesday he would declare a state of emergency for the three western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo to stem the spread of COVID-19, Kyodo news reported.
Responding to pressure from Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures in eastern Japan, Suga last week declared a one-month state of emergency for that region until Feb. 7.
But the number of coronavirus cases has also climbed in the west, prompting Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo to seek a state of emergency too. The government is finalising plans to do so on Wednesday, and could also consider adding the central prefectures of Aichi – home to Toyota Motor Corp – and Gifu, Kyodo reported, citing government sources.
Adding those five prefectures would mean a state of emergency for about half of Japan’s population of 126 million people.
Japan’s top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, did not confirm the report,…