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The government is considering making any refusal by COVID-19 patients to be hospitalized punishable with imprisonment or a fine.

As part of revisions to the infectious disease prevention law, a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to ¥1 million is being considered for refusal of hospitalization by infected people, a government official said.

The official made the remark at a meeting of the government and the ruling and opposition camps Wednesday.

The government also told the meeting that it was considering a prison term of up to six months or a fine of up to ¥500,000 as punishment for refusing to cooperate with active epidemiological investigations by local public health offices to identify COVID-19 transmission routes.

Separately, the government is also considering introducing fines of up to ¥500,000 on businesses who do not comply with requests for their hours to be shortened, a ruling party official said.

The government aims to submit a set of revisions to the next Diet session, which will begin Monday.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has asked the government to reconsider the proposed penalties.

The government should consider making the fines smaller and the prison terms shorter, said CDP policy leader Kenta Izumi. “Will the public be convinced with the penalties that the government is trying to introduce? They should be reconsidered.”

Japanese Communist Party policy head Tomoko Tamura also criticized the government over the proposed penalties.

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