Govt. to accelerate revision of COVID-19 law

The Japanese government says it will accelerate the revision process regarding a special anti-coronavirus law.

The law would allow the use of subsidies and penalties to enforce shorter business hours at bars and restaurants.

The government is working on the revision with a panel of experts and is taking recommendations from the National Governors' Association into consideration.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide spoke about the revision at a news conference on Friday. He said shortening business hours of restaurants and bars is believed to be one of the most effective measures to contain the virus.

He said officials were studying the revision, which would allow the government to pay subsidies to businesses that comply with its request for shorter hours, and levy penalties at those that refuse.

The government is also considering whether to give governors the authority to open temporary medical facilities without a state of emergency declaration.
They are currently only allowed to do so under such a declaration.

The expert panel is believed to be divided on toughening preventive measures, with some members supportive of tightening restrictions while others are cautious of encroaching on the private sector.

The government is planning to submit the revised bill to the Diet early next year.