State-of-emergency to start on Jan 7th in Tokyo and 3 Prefectures: Suga makes official declaration

At the Liberal Democratic Party’s executive committee meeting this morning, Prime Minister Suga announced that the government would declare a state-of-emergency for Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa to start on January 7th.

The state-of-emergency will be the second declared in Japan. It follows the one that went into effect on April 7th last year and which was lifted in mid-May. The government has begun full-scale preparatory work to implement the state-of-emergency, which is being declared in response to the worsening coronavirus situation, especially in Tokyo.

A declaration will give the government the legal basis to ask businesses to shorten business hours and to ask venues to limit the number of people gathering for events, for example, or to request people to refrain from going out. However, the government has no recourse to levying penalties for businesses or individuals who don’t comply.

The declaration is based on the Act on Special Measures for Novel Corona Countermeasures. The government plans to take limited measures, notably with respect to asking restaurants, bars, and izakaya to shorten their hours; but unlike the initial state-of-emergency, schools and universities will not be asked to close. The state-of-emergency will be declared for about a one month period. A corona countermeasures subcommittee made up of experts will be held on January 6th, and specific measures will be decided based on their opinions.

The government also plans to submit a bill to amend the Special Measures Law to enhance the effectiveness of coronavirus countermeasures to the ordinary Diet session scheduled to be convened on the January 18th, with enactment taking place in early February. The goal is to implement an incentive system for businesses which comply with the government’s state-of-emergency requests and a penalty system for businesses which don’t.

Source:, January 5, 2021 (in Japanese)

Lead photo: iStock