There was a lot of news in the first week of the new year. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the second state of emergency on January 7 to cope with the new coronavirus infections. The declaration will be effective from January 8 to February 7, 2021. It will be applied to the four prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama. The Japanese people will be requested to follow the main four regulations: (1) shortening the operation hours of dining and drinking establishments to eight p.m.; (2) reducing the number of people commuting to their workplaces by 70 percent by promoting telework; (3) refraining from going out after eight p.m. for non-essential, non-urgent reasons; and (4) limiting the number of spectators of sporting events, the audience of concerts and the like within the across-the-board maximum accommodation of 5,000 people. (Source: https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/99_suga/statement/2021/0107kaiken.html).
I hope this declaration will be effective in controlling the spread of the coronavirus infections throughout Japan. As the declaration states, the number of confirmed cases of infections in those four prefectures has rapidly increased for the past two weeks marking a record high since the start of the pandemic of COVID-19. The said number in Tokyo reached 2,447 today. In areas other than the four prefectures, such as Kansai Region including Osaka, Chukyo Region including Aichi Prefecture, and Kyushu Region including Fukuoka, the number of confirmed cases of infections has also tended to increase.
In order to put these four regulations into practice effectively, the government decided to carry out various kinds of measures. The following main measures are noted among others. With regard to the shortening the operation hours of restaurants to eight p.m., the government will provide cooperation funds to the restaurants which follow its request so as to compensate their financial losses, and in accordance with the amended government’s related ordinances, the government plans to disclose the names of restaurants which refuse to cooperate. Furthermore, the amendment to the Act on Special Measures which will be submitted to the Diet soon will enable the government to levy penalties on those restaurants. The medical treatment system in terms of facilities and personnel is said to be under strain, therefore further subsidies to the hospitals will be provided when they newly allocate medical beds for coronavirus patients. The government is also expediting the whole process to enable all the Japanese people to start getting vaccines at the end of February. All these measures along with the above-mentioned four regulations will be submitted to the Diet as the bill of the amendment to the Act on Special Measures for Pandemic Influenza and New Infectious Diseases Preparedness and Response in no time. Not only Japan but also all other countries in the world are struggling to find out the best solution for the control of the COVID-19 infections.