Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe (pictured in a file photo) declared on Monday an end to the last of the emergency designations imposed in the country regarding the novel coronavirus, by lifting restrictions in the Greater Tokyo area and in Hokkaido, reported Kyodo News.
The decision covered Tokyo, the prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, as well as the island and prefecture of Hokkaido in northern Japan. It meant the government had now removed the designation ‘emergency’ across the whole of the country, which Kyodo News said would enable citizens to go out freely and businesses to be able to resume operations.
Tokyo has not declared any interest in tilting for a casino resort – i.e., an integrated resort or “IR” as such schemes are known in that country. Hokkaido had ruled itself out of the running last year.
But a number of local authorities that are interested in hosting such a scheme, has said that the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed their efforts. Local authorities must first find private-sector partners and then ask the national government for the right to host an IR.
A maximum of three such schemes will be permitted in a first phase of liberalisation.
According to Kyodo News, Mr Abe said the country would carefully review existing Covid-19-related entry bans on foreigners. But the prime minister did not rule out that fresh declarations of emergency might be declared depending on developments regarding Covid-19.
According to a dedicated website of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, as of Friday the country had reported 16,513 Covid-19 cases including 796 deaths.
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