Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and leaders of three neighboring prefectures have called on the Japanese Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency amid the explosive rise in COVID-19 cases, the head of the national pandemic response said Saturday.
"The national government and the three governors shared the view that the situation in the Tokyo area is becoming more serious and an emergency may need to be declared," Minister of Economy Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.
As a temporary measure, restaurants and karaoke parlors in the Tokyo area will be closed at 20:00, he said, and businesses that sell alcohol should close at 19:00.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has previously dropped calls to restore the country's state of emergency, which the government imposed in April during the previous wave of the pandemic. The next public address by the Japanese Prime Minister is scheduled for January 4.
On December 31, the number of new infections in Tokyo reached a record 1,337. On December 31, a nationwide record of 4,520 new cases was also set.
Recall that the Olympic Games, postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, should be held in Tokyo this summer. The decision to postpone the Olympics was made at the end of March 2020 after the National Olympic Committee of Canada announced that it would not send its athletes to the Games in 2020 due to the risk of illness.