Tokyo and other regions set for quasi Covid-19 measures

Tokyo and other regions set for quasi Covid-19 measures

Sawako Utsumi and Sawako Uchida

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida looks set to introduce a quasi-State of Emergency in Tokyo and ten other prefectures throughout Japan. Hiroshima, Okinawa, and Yamaguchi are already under similar measures. Therefore, this will bring 14 of the 47 prefectures under the quasi-State of Emergency.

Despite Japan being strict against foreign nationals seeking to re-enter Japan – irrespective of family ties or permanent residency status – restrictions internally are mild compared to other parts of the world. For example, images emanating from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, and other nations are shocking people in Japan who witness these events. 

The leaders of Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama have all requested that the central government place them under a quasi-State of Emergency. Other administrative areas, including Gifu and Mie, have made similar requests.

The Omicron (Covid-19) coronavirus variant is highly infectious. However, unlike the Delta variant, the Omicron variant is milder. Therefore, despite daily infections mushrooming in South Africa, France, and the United Kingdom, the death ratio is much lower.

Quasi measures usually relate to eating establishments and drinking bars shortening their business hours – and people are requested to refrain from cross prefectural trips. However, in reality, it is nigh impossible for workers not to cross borders – for example, vast numbers of people commute to work between Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Tokyo.

Lee Jay Walker says, “If you don’t know the region well – then from Ikebukuro (Tokyo) it takes 13 minutes by express train to Wakoshi (Saitama) – and from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to Noborito (Kanagawa) it takes 16 minutes by express train. Shinjuku is the busiest train station in the world. Therefore, many quasi-measures are piecemeal.” 

Japan is better prepared for the omicron variant concerning the increase in available hospital beds, improved medications, and other measures implemented by Kishida. Despite this, the sheer volume of expected coronavirus infections will challenge the health care system if the expected huge increase occurs. 

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