Opposition questions lifting of state of emergency

A Japanese opposition lawmaker has questioned whether the government made the right decision to end the coronavirus state of emergency in the Tokyo area on Sunday.

Constitutional Democratic Party Executive Deputy Leader Renho was speaking at the Upper House budget committee on Friday.

She said while some people welcome the fact that the declaration will be lifted from Monday as scheduled, many others are voicing concern, and feel a sense of insecurity and distrust. She questioned whether the government's decision was appropriate.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said the decision was made after a comprehensive assessment of the coronavirus situation.
He also said the number of daily new cases has fallen by 80 percent since the peak of the current outbreak.

But Suga added that people should not let their guard down against the virus. He noted that some other outbreak indicators remain flat or are even picking up. He said a resurgence of the virus should be prevented at all costs.

Suga also referred to the subsidies for restaurants and other businesses that are cooperating with requests to shorten their opening hours. Currently, a fixed daily payment is provided regardless of the size of the business.

Suga said he is aware of criticism in the Diet that the subsidies are ineffective in some ways, and he believes the government needs to review the measure.