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Japan’s Abe: ‘We have no time to spare’

/ 03:08 PM April 08, 2020

TOKYO — A state of emergency has been declared Tuesday evening in response to a surge in infections with the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained the reason why the declaration was issued at a press conference by saying, “Even though the current situation has not yet reached the point where the spread of the virus is nationwide and rapid, we concluded that we have no time to spare.” He asked the people not to go out unless it is necessary to maintain their lives. “If we could reduce contact with others by 80%, we could start to bring down the number of the infected people in two weeks,” he said.

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Seven prefectures — Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka — are subject to the declaration, which will last through May 6. Governors in these prefectures can call on residents to refrain from going out for nonessential and nonurgent purposes. This declaration does not, however, grant enforcement powers for the types of lockdowns seen in some countries. It is not possible to impose orders to shut down public transportation or to close roads.

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