Japan’s prime minister declares emergency, but no U.S.-style lockdown

by WorldTribune Staff, April 6, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday said he will declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures but added that the declaration does not amount to a lockdown.

Japan’s approach, like Sweden’s, is less radical than that imposed on the USA.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. / YouTube

Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures will be covered by the emergency order which will start at midnight April 8 and is expected to remain in place until at least May 6.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., radio host Mark Levin suggested that the Trump administration should “look at the areas of the economy that we can open up” right away.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Levin said President Donald Trump should re-examine his earlier goal of opening some parts of the economy back up by Easter (April 12).

“I’m hoping people in Washington are listening,” Levin told Hannity. “You cannot deficit spend your way into prosperity. If you could, Venezuela would be the richest nation on the face of the Earth.”

The key purpose of the declaration for Japan is to “reduce people-to-people contact as much as possible and to prepare medical facilities,” Abe said. “We want people to refrain from going out as much as possible.”

Abe added that “Even though we will declare a state of emergency, we will not lock cities down and I do not think it is necessary. We will ramp up our effort to maintain economic activities as well as preventing the further spread of the virus.”

Abe’s government is also set to approve a 108 trillion yen (about $1 trillion) stimulus package. The package includes 6 trillion yen in cash payments to households and small and medium enterprises, and 26 trillion yen for a moratorium on tax payments and social insurance premiums.

“After taking the enormous impact on economy into consideration, we have decided to take 108 trillion yen stimulus measures, which is equal to 20 percent of GDP,” Abe said. “I request those who live in the subject areas to stay calm and we will request your further cooperation to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Tokyo recorded 143 new infections on Sunday, a daily record that lifted the city’s total to more than 1,000, Nikkei Asian Review reported. Over 3,500 cases have been recorded nationally, with 73 deaths.

Abe’s order will give local authorities the legal power to request the public to stay home, and ask schools and businesses to close. The public will be asked to refrain from going outside except for grocery shopping and limited other tasks.

Japan’s constitution does not permit the government to demand that individuals stay home.

If businesses do not cooperate without a legitimate reason, authorities can give out “instructions,” which have a stronger connotation than requests, the Nikkei Asian Review noted. But no penalties can be imposed on those who refuse to go along.

Levin noted that the media, Democrats and some of Trump’s advisers “I fear, are boxing the president in. The president a few weeks ago, I thought had a very good idea: Let’s look at the areas of the economy that we can open up.”

“I’ll give you a perfect example. We have food, we have heat, we have clean water. Who you think is giving that to us? Other citizens. Electricity, gasoline for our cars. Truckers, we have a mail service, UPS, FedEx, grocery stores, fast-food drive-throughs, all open, all functioning. We get soap and diapers and toilet paper, prescription drugs, 7-Elevens are open. Doctors, nurses, cops, firefighters, more, going into these hot zones despite the fact that they are exposed,” Levin said.

“I’m not saying drop all the conditions. I’m saying let’s get a little smarter about this. We don’t ask these businesses ‘Can you adjust to the virus? [Are there] things you can do?’ ”

Addressing the possibility of a “phase 4” coronavirus bill which would follow the $2.2 trillion dollar bill enacted last week, Levin said another round of spending for the U.S. would be a “disaster,” arguing that “you can’t push this kind of money into an economy and then say that we’re going to put people to work.”

“Washington, stop,” he said. “You’re going to destroy the economy, what’s left of it. They’re going to create massive inflation. You’re going to be creating jobs that don’t exist and most of what you’re spending money on, by the way, does not create jobs…there’s a lot of real stupidity in these bills,” Levin continued.

“Don’t pass another bill. Open up parts of the economy. Ask these businesses what they want and tell these governors to cut it out.”

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