Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto to seek state of emergency

The governors of Osaka, Hyogo, and Kyoto prefectures are set to ask the central government to expand its coronavirus state-of-emergency declaration to cover their region in western Japan.

The three leaders provided an outline of the situations in their areas in an online meeting of the National Governors' Association on Saturday.

Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi said the prefectural governments had decided to make the request to the central government.

He said that on Wednesday daily infections in Osaka started to roughly double from levels seen in preceding days.

Yoshimura stressed the need for a revision to a special law that would enable a better response to the coronavirus outbreak. He called on lawmakers to start deliberating the revision right after the next Diet session opens later this month.

Hyogo Governor Ido Toshizo said his prefecture had seen record numbers of cases for three days in a row.

He said a state-of-emergency declaration needs to allow authorities to take focused and flexible measures in certain areas and industries.

Kyoto Governor Nishiwaki Takatoshi said daily infection tallies in his prefecture remain extremely high.

He urged the central government to implement steps that reflect the current infection situation, saying measures under a state-of-emergency declaration need to be explained in a detailed and clear manner.

The current state-of-emergency declaration applies to Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.

Saitama Governor Ono Motohiro said an explosive rise in infections must be prevented. He said Tokyo and the three prefectures will work together to implement effective measures.

Other governors have also voiced concern about the growing strain on medical resources.

The National Governors' Association is to compile a set of proposals to the central government later in the day. It will likely include quickly expanding the state-of-emergency declaration to other prefectures, if those areas see a surge in infections.