Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's declaration of another state of emergency for Tokyo and its surrounding area appears to have come too late, with the government's decision-making process slowed by his prioritization of economic recovery and the manner in which he took office four months ago.

The monthlong state of emergency through Feb. 7, covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba prefectures, is less comprehensive than the previous one in April last year. The declaration was widely viewed as insufficient to suppress COVID-19 infections, leaving room for a potential extension and an expansion of its scope that will likely have more serious repercussions on the economy.

While Suga has pledged to improve the situation in one month, political observers say he would not receive credit for such a feat as he has shown little leadership in curbing the surge of infections since November. Whether he can secure a second term as prime minister is becoming increasingly uncertain.