National

Japan to announce criteria for lifting state of emergency

The number of new infections and tests conducted could be included

Jiji

The government will announce shortly numerical criteria for the lifting of its state of emergency declaration over the novel coronavirus pandemic, economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has said.

“We are in talks with experts” on the matter, Nishimura said at a news conference Wednesday, indicating that the criteria will possibly include the numbers for newly confirmed infection cases, carriers of the virus for whom infection routes are unidentified and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted to detect possible coronavirus infections.

On Tuesday, the Osaka Prefectural Government, announced its own criteria for lifting its requests for businesses to temporarily shut and for people to refrain from going out.

On this, Nishimura commented, “I understand that (Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura) said the prefectural government has come up with the criteria because the central government has failed to show conditions for lifting (the state of emergency declaration).” The minister also said that “I strongly feel there is something wrong” with Yoshimura’s remarks.

“It is inconsistent to claim that the central government hasn’t shown conditions for removing the emergency declaration while calling on it to give greater autonomy to prefectural governments,” Nishimura said.

In response, Yoshimura said on Twitter that he has “no wish or intention” to ask the central government to release such conditions, adding that he will be careful about messages he delivers.

Nishimura tweeted back: “We share the desire to quickly bring the epidemic under control. We want to keep working closely together (toward that goal).”

The central government declared the state of emergency on April 7 for seven prefectures — Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka — and expanded it nationwide on April 16.

On Monday, the government decided to extend the emergency declaration, which was originally slated to expire Wednesday, to the end of May for all 47 prefectures.

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