Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration is readying legislation to punish refusal to comply with government-mandated COVID-19 measures, amid concerns it may infringe too much on personal freedoms.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on Friday held a meeting to discuss a proposed revision to the infectious disease law making it possible to impose hefty fines or even prison sentences to people who test positive for the coronavirus but refuse to be hospitalized or cooperate with contact tracing efforts.

Health experts attending the meeting largely approved of the plan but warned the government to be circumspect in doling out punishment, with some expressing doubts about its effectiveness in curbing infections.