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Japan's PM Expands State of Emergency to Entire Country

Abe declared a limited state of emergency on April 7 that covered only Tokyo and six other prefectures deemed at highest risk.
by The Associated Press
Apr 16, 2020
Photo/s: Kyodo News via AP
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expanded a state of emergency to all of Japan from just Tokyo and other urban areas as the virus continues to spread.

Abe also announced cash handouts of 100,000 yen ($930) for each of Japan’s 120 million citizens.

He said the expanded state of emergency is aimed at reducing the movement of people and achieving as much as 80% social distancing.

Abe declared a limited state of emergency on April 7 that covered only Tokyo and six other prefectures deemed at highest risk. He issued a stay-at-home request to people in those areas, but later expanded it to the rest of the country.

Abe’s coronavirus response has been criticized for being too slow and too lax. Several local leaders had asked him to include their prefectures in the emergency, while others declared their own states of emergency, in rare moves underscoring their frustration with Abe.

Abe has been seen as reluctant to take tougher measures because of their economic impact.

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Japan, which has one of the world's oldest populations, has more than 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including about 700 from a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo, with about 150 deaths.

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