Japan is planning to decide during the Golden Week holiday between April 29 to May 6 whether to extend the month-long state emergency for containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus or COVID-19, the government and ruling party sources stated as reported by Reuters on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had announced the state of emergency as the spread of the deadly coronavirus is increasing day by day and the numbers in the Asian country started to increase day by day.
Japan to decide on Golden Week about extending lockdown
Abe, who has faced criticism for his response to the outbreak, expanded the emergency nationwide on April 16 to reduce travel during the Golden Week holidays, when many Japanese usually visit their hometowns or take other trips. Tokyo, which has emerged as Japan's coronavirus epicentre, confirmed 123 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 3,307, public broadcaster NHK said. Japan as a whole has more than 11,000 confirmed cases and 265 deaths, NHK reported.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was concerned about Japan's rising number of cases, although the country was not yet seeing a large-scale community outbreak. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the government would consult experts before May 6 for their views, a prerequisite to extending the emergency.
The number of confirmed cases, how long it is taking to double that number and the percentage of cases for which the route of infection cannot be traced, which has been rising, would all be taken into consideration, said Shigeru Omi, head of the expert advisory panel .
Government wants to wait
The government wants to wait until after passage of an extra budget to decide whether to extend the emergency, since an extension would spark calls for even more spending to cushion the impact of the outbreak and business shutdowns, the sources said. Debate on the budget is expected to begin on April 27.
"The budget will probably pass on April 30 or May 1," a ruling party source said. "If possible, it's better to decide on an extension at the same time." Japan on Monday boosted its stimulus package to a record $1.1 trillion to expand cash payouts to residents, and compiled a record 25.7 trillion yen extra budget for the fiscal year from April 1 to help fund the package.
(With agency inputs)