Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a dire warning to the country Saturday that it could see its hospitals overwhelmed and the death toll skyrocket if the coronavirus gets out of control, but pledged to draw up an economic relief package even bigger than the one used to sustain the economy during the 2008 global financial crisis.
The prime minister’s tone was remarkably different and ominous Saturday, given the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide. More than 60 people tested positive for the disease in Tokyo alone Saturday, the biggest one-day jump reported so far, with 58 cases in Chiba Prefecture.
A survey released Saturday found that, in terms of emergency economic measures, 43.4 percent of those questioned would prefer a rollback of the Oct. 1 consumption tax hike to 10 percent from 8 percent, while 32.6 percent said they favor cash handouts. It also reported that about 79 percent of the public approves of Tuesday’s decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics by about a year in light of the pandemic.