The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering asking large commercial facilities and the like to close when a third state of emergency is declared in response to the novel coronavirus in Tokyo based on the revised special measures law to cope with new strains of influenza.
“I have instructed a vice governor to begin discussions with the central government regarding [coronavirus] measures as soon as possible,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Tuesday night, expressing her intention to request the government to issue the emergency declaration soon.
During the first state of emergency in Tokyo in April and May last year, the metropolitan government asked a wide range of facilities, including movie theaters, museums and commercial facilities, to temporarily close. However, the metropolitan government did not ask such facilities to close during the second state of emergency from January to March, as “the impact on the economy and society would be too heavy,” according to a senior official of the metropolitan government. Therefore, the Tokyo government only asked restaurants to shorten their business hours.
The metropolitan government has been asking the restaurant industry to shorten business hours under the current emergency-level priority measures against the spread of infections. However, that request has not been enough to prevent people from going out. Therefore, the metropolitan government has started considering asking some businesses to close again this time.
Large commercial facilities such as department stores, entertainment facilities and karaoke parlors are being considered for the closure request, according to sources close to the matter.
The metropolitan government will carefully consider whether to ask restaurants and bars to close their businesses, to try to avoid what sources described as potential confusion.