TOKYO • The leaders of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures in western Japan said yesterday they saw a need for a state of emergency amid rising Covid-19 numbers.
All three prefectures busted their one-day tallies yesterday, with 607 cases in Osaka, 284 in Hyogo and 143 in Kyoto.
“There are clear signs that infections are spreading. We must take the initiative rather than just hope for the best,” Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters.
He said a joint request with neighbouring Kyoto and Hyogo for an emergency declaration may be made to the national government by Saturday.
However, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a news conference yesterday that he “did not think the situation now warrants any emergency”, but would carefully consider any request by consulting experts.
What will compound Mr Suga’s headache in the coming days is the fact that cases are surging nationwide. At least 19 of Japan’s 47 prefectures recorded new daily highs yesterday, as the country set a new high of at least 7,490 new infections.
Aichi reset its one-day high for the second straight day with 431 cases. Governor Hideaki Omura said if the situation worsens, he will ask for an emergency declaration with neighbouring Gifu prefecture.
Others are taking matters into their own hands. Ibaraki, with a new high of 90 cases, has asked residents to avoid non-essential outings and offered payouts to eateries and bars that close by 10pm.
At least two municipalities – the south-western prefecture of Miyazaki and the city of Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture – have issued their own emergency declarations. Utsunomiya Mayor Eiichi Sato cited the growing strain on hospitals after the city saw 62.1 cases for every 100,000 people in the past week, while Miyazaki set a new one-day high of 105 cases yesterday.