Japan’s government said on Thursday it was extending across the whole country a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and its linked Covid-19 infection.
The national emergency raises the possibility that more Japanese cities and prefectures interested in having a casino resort could see a delay to their preparation timetable.
On March 27, Osaka – a contender for a Japanese integrated resort or “IR” – said the submission deadline of its request-for-proposal (RFP) process had been delayed to July, instead of April. Subsequently the mayor, Ichiro Matsui, flagged that the RFP might be put back even further.
On Wednesday the authorities in Japan’s Yokohama city said they were delaying by two months the respective timing for two important parts of the metropolis’ effort to get a casino resort, citing Covid-19 as a factor.
The central government – which has yet to issue the finalised version of its own IR basic policy – has nonetheless stated in its draft document that it will accept IR applications from local governments between January 2021 and July of that year.
On Monday, Kazuyoshi Akaba, Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said the central authorities were for now keeping to that application timetable.
On Thursday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that – with the emergency now covering all 47 prefectures in the nation of around 126 million people – the national government would provide cash handouts of JPY100,000 (about US$930) to all citizens. He also approved a rejig of a national budget shortly before it was due to be put to parliament, reported Kyodo News.
Mr Abe was quoted as saying that although there would not be a legally-enforced lockdown as seen in some other nations globally, that “to end the emergency situation by May 6, it’s imperative for people to reduce contact with others by at least 70 percent and up to 80 percent.”
The nationwide state of emergency allows regional governments to urge people to stay inside.
Starting on April 8, an initial seven prefectures in Japan – Chiba, Fukuoka, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Saitama and Tokyo – had entered a month-long state of emergency in relation to Covid-19.
A total of 8,582 people had tested positive in Japan for Covid-19 as of noon on Thursday, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
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