Japan issues 3rd virus emergency in Tokyo, Osaka area

Yoshihide Suga
Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 23, 2021

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has issued a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures to curb a surge in the coronavirus just three months ahead of the Olympics.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo from April 25 through May 11.

Japan's third emergency since the pandemic comes only a month after an earlier, toothless emergency ended in the Tokyo area.

This time, after a law stipulating virus measures was toughened in February, authorities can issue binding orders for businesses to shorten their hours or close, with compensation for those who comply and penalties for violators.

Suga says the step is intended to stop people from traveling over upcoming holidays.

According to The Associated Press, the new measures stop short of a complete lockdown, but they impose limits on bars, department stores, malls, theme parks, theaters, and museums.

For those that serve alcohol, they'll be required to close entirely, while many other establishments will shut down at 8 p.m. Schools will remain open, while universities have been asked to return to online classes.