Osaka governor seeks bolstered legal powers in coronavirus fight


Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday to revise a law in order to boost measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The head of the prefecture handed Abe a written request for powers to legally oblige operators of shops and facilities that have already been hit by cluster outbreaks to take anti-coronavirus measures, as well as empowering governors to issue business suspension orders against those who do not comply.

“I see to some extent where the epicenters of outbreaks are, but there are extremely few measures I can take as governor,” Yoshimura told Abe.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yoshimura quoted Abe as saying, “Effective measures would be necessary.”

The governor also said Abe expressed willingness to hold a national referendum on constitutional amendments before his tenure as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expires in September next year.

The Abe-Yoshimura meeting was also attended by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Earlier the same day, Yoshimura met with LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai and Noritoshi Ishida, policy chief of Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, to call for stronger measures to stop the virus’ entry into his prefecture at airports.

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