Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, wearing a protective face mask attends a plenary session, at the parliament's upper house on Friday, April 3, 2020, in Tokyo.

Eugene Hoshiko/The Associated Press

Japan is to impose a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday to contain the coronavirus, while the government prepares a $990-billion stimulus package to soften the economic blow.

Domestic infections topped 4,000, Jiji news reported, and 93 have died – not a huge outbreak compared with some global hot spots. But the numbers keep rising, with particular alarm over the spread in Tokyo, which has more than 1,000 cases including 83 new ones on Monday.

“Japan won’t, and doesn’t need, to take lockdown steps like those overseas,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, citing the opinion of infectious disease experts. “Trains will be running and supermarkets will be open. The state of emergency will allow us to strengthen current steps to prevent an increase in infections while ensuring that economic activity is sustained as much as possible,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

An emergency, which Abe said would last about a month, will give governors authority to call on people to stay at home and businesses to close. With no penalties for ignoring the requests in most cases, enforcement will rely more on peer pressure and respect for authority, and was unlikely to be as rigorous as lockdowns in many other countries.

Coronavirus guide: Updates and essential resources about the COVID-19 pandemic

How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

What are the coronavirus rules in my province? A quick guide to what’s allowed and open, or closed and banned

In a sign that corporate Japan already was heeding the call, Canon Inc. announced it would close its Tokyo headquarters for 10 days starting from Tuesday.

Pressure had been mounting on the government to take the step although Abe had voiced concern about being too hasty, given the restrictions on movement and businesses it would entail.

Abe also said the government will launch a stimulus package of about 108 trillion yen, including more than 6 trillion yen for cash payouts to households and small businesses and 26 trillion yen to allow deferred social security and tax payments.

It was not immediately clear how much of that package would be new government spending.

An emergency appears to have public support. In a poll published on Monday by JNN, run by broadcaster TBS, 80 per cent of those surveyed said Abe should declare it while 12 per cent said it was not necessary. His approval rating fell by 5.7 points from last month to 43.2 per cent, the survey showed.

But Kenji Shibuya, director of the Institute for Public Health at King’s College, London, said the emergency was too late given the explosive increase in cases in Tokyo.

Story continues below advertisement

“It should have been declared by April 1 at the latest,” he said.

‘GRAVE DANGER’

Under a law revised in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread could have a big impact on the economy.

Abe must seek formal advice from a panel of experts before deciding to go ahead and declare the emergency.

While Japan’s coronavirus epidemic is dwarfed by the 335,000 infections and more than 9,500 deaths in the United States alone, experts worry a sudden surge could overwhelm Japan’s medical system.

Sounding an alarm over the high rate of cases that could not be traced, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike indicated last week that she would favour a state of emergency as a way to help her urge residents to abide by stronger social-distancing measures.

The emergency measures are meant to reduce social activity by 80 per cent, a critical degree to curtail infections, said Koji Wada, a member of the expert panel advising policy-makers. The government must show “guts” in levelling with the public, with Abe being specific in his declaration about how people should conduct daily life.

Story continues below advertisement

“It really depends on the speech by Prime Minister Abe,” said Wada, a professor at International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo. “I really expect him to tell us what kind of activities we should do.”

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies