Govt. mulling extension of state of emergency

The Japanese government is expected to decide whether to extend the coronavirus state of emergency based on vaccination progress and the situation of healthcare services.

Tokyo, Osaka and 19 other prefectures are under a state of emergency through September 12. Twelve other prefectures are under quasi-emergency measures until the same date.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the country has recently been declining. But the number of severe cases remains high.

There is a view within the government that the state of emergency must be extended in urban centers, including the greater Tokyo area.

The government is paying attention to factors such as progress in its vaccination program, the state of the healthcare system and the number of coronavirus patients staying at home while waiting to be hospitalized.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide is expected to meet his Cabinet ministers on Tuesday, including Nishimura Yasutoshi, who is in charge of the government's coronavirus response. The government plans to make a decision on the emergency measures later this week after consulting with experts.

The government has outlined a draft of basic guidelines for the proposed use of vaccination certificates and so-called vaccine passports. The draft states that both of them should be widely used for services provided by private companies.

The draft also states that it is highly likely that firing unvaccinated employees or urging them to quit will be deemed unjustifiable and discriminatory.