Nishimura says state of emergency is in sight

Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response says the spread of infections in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures is severe enough for the government to look at declaring a state of emergency.

Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi spoke to reporters after meeting with Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and three governors from surrounding prefectures on Saturday.

The four asked the central government to consider declaring a state of emergency in the face of surging coronavirus infections.

Nishimura said they agreed to work closely to respond to any kind of development. He added that the government will consider whether to make the declaration.

The minister also said he asked the governors to request restaurants in their prefectures to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m., and to urge residents to refrain from making nonessential outings after 8 p.m.