Japanese Gov’t Considers State of Emergency Extension to June 20

by dereksawadogo
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Also: U.S. State Department issues “do not travel” advisory to Japan; Eiren asks for cinema reopening

The Japanese government is considering an extension of the current new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) state of emergency in nine prefectures by as much as two weeks until June 20. The prefectures that may possibly extend the state of emergency include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Aichi, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Okayama, and Fukushima.

The nine above prefectures were originally scheduled to end their respective state of emergencies on May 31.

Okinawa has already announced that its state of emergency, newly declared on Sunday, will last until June 20.

The Japanese government declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures on April 23. This latest state of emergency was originally slated to lift on May 11. The state of emergency was intended to curb the amount of travel during the country’s Golden Week holidays in early May. The Japanese government then extended the state of emergency to May 31, and added Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures starting on May 12. The government then added Hokkaido, Okayama, and Hiroshima on May 16.

The U.S. State Department has issued a “do not travel” level 4 travel advisory (the highest possible level) to Japan, reflecting the worsening situation in the country’s COVID-19 containment efforts.

The International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo government still intend to hold the Tokyo Olympics, already delayed from last year and rescheduled to July-August this year, despite calls from both inside and outside Japan to cancel the games.

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) has asked for the reopening of cinemas in Japan, saying that the government has not provided definitive evidence that theaters were serving as infection clusters. The Eiren, alongside film production companies such as TOHO, Shochiku, and Toei, have called for cinemas to reopen on June 1, after the current state of emergency’s planned end.

Under the current state of emergency, the government asked large department stores and shopping centers to close (except those offering daily essentials), and events to have no in-person audiences. Under the new extension, the government has asked large department stores and shopping centers to close by 8:00 p.m. instead of closing altogether, and events to have no more than 5,000 attendees and end by 9:00 p.m.

Sources: The Mainichi, NHK World Japan, Deadline (Ted Johnson), Variety (Mark Schilling)

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