Tokyo and 3 prefectures to finalize stricter steps

Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures are apparently nearing a conclusion on stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including requesting restaurants to close by 8 p.m.

The measures were suggested by Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi on Saturday. He is in charge of the coronavirus response.

Nishimura asked the governors of Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa, to take the new steps. The governors met with the minister to ask the central government to consider declaring a state of emergency for their region.

Sources close to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government say its officials are considering requesting restaurants to move up their closing time 2 hours from the currently requested time of 10 p.m.

They say consultations are ongoing between Tokyo and the three prefectures where infections are surging. Officials are reportedly discussing whether the three prefectures can take the same steps that Tokyo is considering.

Tokyo officials hope to work together with the three prefectures to achieve a maximum progress against the virus by combining multiple measures to curb the movement of people.

The Tokyo government is expected to announce the details after finalizing talks with the prefectures.

Discussions will include the issue of how much financial support each prefecture will provide for restaurants that comply with the request to close earlier.