Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response says the spread of infections in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures is severe enough for the government to look at declaring a state of emergency.
He also called for stricter anti-virus measures in the areas.
Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi's remarks came after he met Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and three governors from surrounding prefectures on Saturday. They requested the government to consider declaring a state of emergency.
Nishimura told reporters that a panel of experts needs to convene before deciding whether to make the declaration.
He said they should examine data, such as the number of tests and positive results, and people's movements.
Nishimura said he asked the governors to request restaurants in their prefectures to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and to close by 8 p.m., and suggested stepped-up financial support for those shops that comply.
He asked the governors to urge residents to refrain from making nonessential outings after 8 p.m.
The minister said he also asked them to promote telework at companies, to strengthen anti-infection measures at work and at schools, and impose stricter rules for organizing events.
Nishimura said he and the governors agreed to work closely to respond to any kind of development.