Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto eye state of emergency

The governments of Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures in western Japan are moving toward requesting the central government to expand its state of emergency declaration to cover their region.

Osaka confirmed a record 607 new infections on Thursday, the same day the central government declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa.

Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi said it is time to act as there are clear signs cases are soaring in his prefecture.

If a state of emergency is declared, the Osaka government plans to request dining establishments in the prefecture to close by 8 p.m. and serve alcohol only between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. A similar request is already in place in the city of Osaka.

Hyogo Governor Ido Toshizo said that given the current surge in cases, he needs to consider asking the central government to issue a state of emergency for his prefecture.

The Hyogo government is studying the option of asking bars and restaurants in the city of Kobe to shorten business hours ahead of a possible emergency declaration. The prefectural government considers the infection situation in the city to be serious.

Kyoto Governor Nishiwaki Takatoshi said his prefecture is at a stage where it should consider requesting a state of emergency declaration. He also stressed the need for the governments of Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto to take action together.

The three prefectural governments will separately hold taskforce meetings on Friday to decide their approaches.