Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded a state of emergency to cover the whole country on Thursday in an attempt to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 disease, a government official said Thursday. However, it should be noted that it is not a lockdown order as in many other countries.
But, what is the exact meaning of a state of emergency in Japan?
japan cannot legally enforce European-style hard-lockdowns. Most state of emergency measures are requests and instructions only. Violators cannot be punished unless they fail to comply with orders related to storage or shipment of emergency relief goods and medical supplies.
Why is Japan not imposing a hard lockdown?
Japan’s history of repression under fascist governments before and during World War II has left the public wary of government overreach. The country’s postwar constitution lays out strict protections for civil liberties. Abe’s government was reluctant to risk severe economic repercussions from more severe measures.
What measures are taken during the state of emergency?
The state of emergency allows prefectural leaders to ask residents to stay home. They can also request closures of schools, some, child and senior care or community centers, and stores and businesses that are considered non-essential. They can advise organizers to cancel or postpone events. The governors can also request use of private property to build hospitals and other medical facilities.
What are essential activities?
Essential activities and facilities, including banks, grocery stores, postal serv, ices, pharmacies and utility companies remain open. Some retail stores and entertainment venues such as movie theaters, concert halls and amusement parks can be asked to shut down. Public schools in Tokyo and some neighboring prefectures already are closed until May 6.
Can people still go out?
A. Yes, residents can be out for purposes considered essential, including work, hospital visits and grocery shopping, according to a Cabinet Office statement. Residents can still go out for a walk, a jog or other individual exercise outdoors for the sake of good health.
What’s the potential impact on the economy?
Abe also announced an unprecedented 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) stimulus package, equivalent to about a fifth of annual GDP, to pay for coronavirus measures and protect businesses and jobs. It includes 300,000 yen ($2,750) cash handouts for some hard-hit households. A month-long state of emergency in Tokyo area could cause consumer spending to fall nearly 2.5 trillion yen ($23 billion), according to Nomura Research Institute.
Originally published on www.japantoday.com