Japan’s COVID-19 State of Emergency: What You Need to Know

Source: Gaijin Pot

Due to the rising cases of the coronavirus, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga officially declared a second state of emergency for Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures on Jan. 7. On Jan. 13, he expanded the state of emergency to include Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Fukuoka, Tochigi and Gifu prefectures.

The state of emergency puts restrictions on the public concerning “non-essential” activities.

To help foreign residents in the affected prefectures, we have compiled a list of answers to questions you may have about living under the state of emergency.

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What does the state of emergency mean?

This is the second state of emergency declared since the pandemic. In 2020, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a nationwide state of emergency in April which wasn’t lifted until June. The current state of emergency is expected to be lifted on Feb. 7 but it may be extended.

The declaration permits prefectural governors in the affected areas to “request” residents stay at home except for leaving to perform essential tasks. “Essential tasks” include anything deemed necessary to maintaining life, such as going to the hospital, buying food and commuting to work.

Governors are also permitted to ask businesses deemed non-essential to “thoroughly implement infection control measures,” which typically means staying closed. While that was the case last year, currently, the government is only asking businesses to close early.

The government has penned an amendment that would make businesses liable up to ¥500,000 for not following the mandate.

The government does not …continue reading