Although Japan has so far been significantly less affected by the coronavirus pandemic than Europe or the United States with 3650 cases for 73 deaths, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in the country. in several regions of the country, including Tokyo and Osaka.
This expected decision comes at a time when the number of cases has increased significantly over the past two weeks in several regions, notably in Tokyo, where 148 new infections were recorded on Sunday. Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, called on the inhabitants of the capital to telecommute as much as possible and to avoid unnecessary trips on weekends.
The Prime Minister announced at the same time a massive plan to support the country’s economy of 108 trillion yen (or 915 billion euros) to counter the consequences of the pandemic on the activity of the third economic power world.
Before the announcement of the establishment of this state of emergency in certain regions of Japan should not lead to containment measures as drastic as those currently in force in many other countries.
A “requested” confinement not imposed
Concretely, the governors of the regions concerned will be able to “ask” the inhabitants to stay at home and call on non-essential businesses to suspend their activities. The authorities may also requisition existing land or buildings for medical purposes. However, the Japanese authorities do not have the power to force people to confine themselves and businesses to close, or to punish them if they do not follow the instructions.
“Japan is still haunted by the dark legacy of its militarist regime until 1945, which severely oppressed individual freedoms,” said Yoshinobu Yamamoto, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, specialist in international relations. However, if the current state of emergency framework does not work, “some voices may call for stronger power to control people. This could set a precedent, “he said.
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So far, the government has done everything to avoid this scenario of confinement, even flexible, for fear of mismanaging an already suffering economy. The country has entered a recession which will force the executive to further inflate its gigantic public debt.
Nevertheless, the prospect of the state of emergency reassured investors. The Tokyo Stock Exchange closed sharply higher on Monday. Star index Nikkei closed the session up 4.24% to 18,576.30 points.