The country's main opposition party criticized the government in the Diet Wednesday for its delay in declaring a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic and opposed its plan to penalize those infected with the virus who refuse to be hospitalized.

After Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged Monday at the start of an ordinary Diet session to bring the pandemic under control in Japan, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano said the country's medical system is "not just strained but has already collapsed" due to the government's slow response.

"The government should admit a delay in making the decision and reflect on it," said Edano, noting a state of emergency for Tokyo and its vicinity was declared on Jan. 7, although his party had proposed one on Dec. 18 amid a resurgence of virus infections.