Japan has declared a state of emergency in two cities and a province has been hit by a pandemic. An astonishing move reflects concerns about its spread Coronavirus.
The latest statement comes 10 weeks before the start of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, when Japan is facing a virus outbreak.
Until May 31, Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima will join the emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and four other regions, said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the finance minister in charge of preventive measures against the virus.
Observing the economy, the government proposed a more clear “near emergency” declaration for five additional cities.
“Experts have told us that we need to send a strong message to the public in the face of a serious situation with transitional pressures,” Nishimura told parliament while explaining the decision.
Minimal austerity measures will be expanded as planned.
Of the 47 Japanese municipalities that make up 70 percent of the population, 19 are subject to regulatory restrictions, including banning dining at 8pm and banning alcohol in most bars and restaurants.
The Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute estimates that the nine-continent emergency could cost the equivalent of $ 9.1 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and cut 57,000 jobs in the coming months.
(Additional reporting by Ju-Min Park, Daniel Lusing and Elaine Lies)