On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged its citizens to stay home as it has witnessed the rise of the coronavirus infections in recent weeks in some major cities of the country.
Media reports, meanwhile, claimed that as many as 400,000 people could have died of the coronavirus had there been no preventive measures urgently taken by Abe’s government. Nevertheless, the government has been recently under intense pressure to raise more funds for talking about the impact of the virus pandemic in the country.
Stay Indoors and Continuing Emergency Lockdown
More than 8,000 infections and about 200 deaths have been reported in Japan till Wednesday. Estimating the present condition of the virus impact, it was reported by Japanese media that the fatality rate of the virus in Japan could reach the 400,000 marks with a requirement of 850,000 ventilators without the timely intervention and mitigation measures of the government.
Japan has witnessed a surge in the virus infection rate in recent weeks, particularly in Tokyo. With such new developments, the Abe government has responded by declaring an emergency in Tokyo and six other areas including Osaka and set a goal to cut inter-personal interactions between people by 70 percent.
Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga urged people to follow the policies of the government and help to reach the targets set by the authorities in mitigation of the virus pandemic. Thereby, people should follow the government’s measures including self-isolation and closure of the businesses although no fines or penalties were yet imposed to force compliance. According to public broadcaster NHK, Japan’s capital, Tokyo reported more than 125 new cases on Wednesday.
Raising Pressure for Stimulus Package
With the mounting pressure on Abe’s government, Suga was looking for more funding since the government had plans to add a 100,000 yen ($935) payment to every citizen on top of a $1 trillion economic stimulus package. The relief package of the government also included a 300,000 yen payment to households whose income was badly affected due to the virus pandemic.
Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the Komeito party that is currently a partner in the ruling coalition, told reporters after meeting the PM of the country, “I’ve urged the prime minister to make a decision and send a strong message of solidarity to the public.” Similarly, other leaders of the allied parties including Toshihiro Nikai, a leading member of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, have called for public action.
On Wednesday, Japanese authorities reported that the number of foreign visitors dropped by 93 percent in March compared to last year, which was a big concern, since Abe has identified tourism as a key driver for the country’s economic growth.
Some sources reported that Abe would decide this weekend whether to extend the government’s emergency after consulting with medical experts and a key metric would be implemented if new daily infections in Tokyo were maintained around a hundred.
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