The governors of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures agreed at a video conference Thursday to jointly ask the central government to allow the serving of alcoholic beverages to be suspended at eating and drinking establishments as a pre-emergency measure against the coronavirus pandemic.
The move by the three prefectures surrounding Tokyo comes as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is considering implementing such a suspension under a planned coronavirus state of emergency for the Japanese capital.
In the three prefectures, the coronavirus pre-emergency stage started only on Tuesday. The prefectures are not planning to request a state of emergency for now, as they are not facing the sharp increases in new coronavirus infections seen in Tokyo.
There are concerns that tighter restrictions in Tokyo under a state of emergency could prompt people to flow into neighboring areas.
“We’ll ask the government for ‘quasi-emergency’ measures,” Chiba Gov. Toshihito Kumagai said. He added that the three prefectures will fully coordinate their responses to the pandemic.
Saitama Gov. Motohiro Ono said it is essential to drastically curb infections right now, in order to avoid severe situations like those facing the prefectures of Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto.
Speaking to reporters after the teleconference, Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa indicated that his prefecture is unlikely to request large commercial facilities to shut down. Such a request is being considered for Tokyo.
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