Governors in Japan demand security of medical system amid easing COVID restrictions
Governors of Japanese prefectures on Saturday called on the new central government to strengthen the health system, as easing restrictions linked to COVID-19 could lead to a new resurgence of infections.
The National Association of Governors wants enough hospital beds, tests and treatment for the coronavirus to be secured in a draft government proposal to be established by the next presumed prime minister Fumio Kishida.
The photo taken on October 2, 2021 in Tokyo shows an online conference of governors of Japan on measures against the novel coronavirus. (Kyodo)
âSecuring a medical system that can save people’s lives should be the foundation of an exit strategy,â the governors said in the draft proposal discussed at their online meeting held on Saturday.
The latest proposal comes as the COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and 18 other prefectures, and a near-state of emergency ended on Friday in eight additional areas. It was the first time since April that the whole country was exempt from such a designation to fight infections.
Attendance caps at large-scale events such as concerts and sporting games have been relaxed and restrictions on restaurant owners such as shortened hours and the alcohol ban will be eased in stages.
At the same time, the Ministry of Health is examining the national health system for a possible sixth wave of coronavirus infections.
The governors said in the draft proposal to be submitted to the central government that Japan is sure to experience a sixth wave soon.
They also asked for government tax support to support their local economies.
âOur regional economies are falling into a critical situation,â the governors said.
Kishida, who is due to be elected prime minister in a special parliamentary session from Monday, said he would compile “tens of billions of yen” for a stimulus package by the end of the year.