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Japan declares a state of emergency in attempt to combat Covid-19

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a face mask walks to attend a video conference, in Tokyo. Photo: Kyodo News via AP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a face mask walks to attend a video conference, in Tokyo. Photo: Kyodo News via AP

Published Apr 16, 2020

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TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday expanded the state of emergency beyond seven prefectures to the entire nation in an attempt to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.

With the declaration extended to cover all 47 prefectures, Abe also said the government will provide cash handouts of 100,000 yen (930 U.S. dollars) to each citizen.

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The expansion gave each prefectural governor more power in efforts to curb the epidemic. They gained the authority to expropriate private land and buildings to provide medical care. They can also requisition medical supplies and food from companies that refuse to sell and punish those that hoard or do not comply.

Tokyo, Osaka, and five other prefectures were already under a month-long state of emergency from April 7 to May 6, when this year's Golden Week holidays end.

A man wearing a face mask makes his way in the rain on a nearly empty street after the government announced a state of emergency for the capital and some prefectures following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's minister in charge of issues related to the emergency declaration, said the inclusion of all prefectures was necessary before the Golden Week holidays start in late April.

He said such an expansion was determined appropriately after consultation with an advisory panel.

"The cumulative number of cases has topped 100 in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Gifu, Aichi and Kyoto (prefectures)," Nishimura told the panel meeting.

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"It's an urgent task for us to take measures to keep the flow of people to the minimum before the holidays," he said. Enditem

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