National

Japan governors eye tougher measures as pachinko parlors defy closure requests

Jiji

The government is considering issuing a stronger shutdown request for pachinko parlors as some remain open — in defiance of existing requests by prefectural governors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Experts are extremely concerned about dangers surrounding the current situation, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference Tuesday.

“We’re preparing to take stronger measures,” he said.

The existing business closure requests are based on Article 24 of a special law in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The central government is now looking to beef them up under Article 45 of the same law, while consulting with related local authorities.

Under Article 45 of the law, authorities are allowed to make public the names of business operators refusing to meet requests.

On Tuesday, a spate of prefectural governors mentioned the possibility of using the clause to introduce stronger measures against pachinko parlors that have yet to close their doors.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura was among those expressing their readiness to adopt the name-and-shame approach.

“We’ll take action against business facilities causing greater anxiety” to the people of Osaka Prefecture, Yoshimura said.

Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido said his prefecture, which neighbors Osaka, would monitor the situation this week and then consider stronger measures if the parlors continue to ignore the shutdown request.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, meanwhile, indicated that the metropolitan government will survey pachinko parlors in the capital and individually ask those that are still open to close.

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