Tokyo, 3 prefectures request state of emergency

The Governors of Tokyo and its three adjoining prefectures are calling for a more urgent response to the surge in coronavirus cases. The leaders have petitioned the central government to declare another state of emergency for their region.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko met with the minister in charge of the coronavirus response, Nishimura Yasutoshi. Also at the meeting were the governors of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.

Koike said, "We made a request to the central government regarding the declaration of a state of emergency. In light of the number of people who have tested positive and the current state of the medical-care system, we made the request as it is necessary to immediately curb the movement of people."

Nishimura said, "We discussed the severity of the situation in the metropolitan area with the governors of Tokyo and the three prefectures. The government should take the situation seriously and consider whether it is necessary to issue a state of emergency at this time."

He asked the governors to request that restaurants close at 8 p.m. and stop serving alcoholic beverages before 7 p.m. He also asked that people refrain from going out after 8 p.m. unless absolutely necessary.

People on the street had mixed reactions.

A man said, "It would be better to issue another state of emergency. People will find it easier to do the right thing if they are clearly told not to go out."

A woman said, "I think the government might as well make the declaration. It will be difficult to bring the situation under control if things are left as they are."

Another man said, "To be honest, I don't think it's necessary. It could be dangerous to let the economy deteriorate further."

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has confirmed over 800 new cases in the capital on Saturday. Thursday marked a record high of 1,337, exceeding 1,000 for the first time.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Tokyo hit a fresh high on Friday. There are growing fears about the ability of the medical system to cope with the influx of patients.

A state of emergency announced for some prefectures in April before being expanded nationwide later that month helped to curb the initial spread of infections in Japan.