Koike to ask neighboring prefectures to cooperate

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says she will ask the governors of Tokyo's four neighboring prefectures to cooperate in urging residents to avoid going out this weekend, to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Koike told reporters on Thursday that she plans to hold a teleconference with the governors of Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba and Yamanashi later in the day. She said she hopes the five Tokyo metropolitan area governors will be able to issue a joint appeal.

The move followed an emergency appeal by Koike to Tokyo residents on Wednesday evening, urging them to avoid non-essential outings this weekend and on weekday evenings. She said Tokyo is at a critical juncture, facing the risk of an explosive spread of the coronavirus unless people take action now.

Tokyo had 41 new cases on Wednesday, the largest one-day increase the city has seen so far.

In response, Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa issued an emergency appeal to the people of Kanagawa at a news conference on Thursday afternoon, urging them to avoid going out this weekend unless it is essential.

He said Kanagawa has not seen a rapid increase in coronavirus infections yet. He asked people to avoid enclosed, crowded spaces, and to work from home as much as possible. He added that they should consider canceling or postponing large gatherings.

Chiba Governor Kensaku Morita also held a news conference on Thursday afternoon, to urge the people of Chiba to avoid non-essential travel to Tokyo this weekend.