|The US Marine Corps' Camp Hansen in the Okinawa Prefecture town of Kin, southern Japan taken on Jan. 6, 2022. A large number of COVID-19 cases were recently reported at the US base. (Photo by= Kyodo)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] TOKYO - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to place three Japanese prefectures under a quasi-state of emergency on Friday after surges in COVID-19 cases that local governors say are attributable to the spread of the Omicron strain at U.S. military bases, Kyodo reported.
The quasi-emergency declarations for Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima are expected to be effective from Sunday to Jan. 31, allowing local governments to bolster anti-coronavirus measures and request dining establishments to shorten their business hours as health experts warn of the sixth wave in Japan of the COVID-19 pandemic. The central government will first consult with experts and explain to parliament the necessity of taking the tougher measures requested by the three prefectures. After the process, Kishida is expected to make a formal decision later in the day.
If declared, it will be the first quasi-state of emergency under Kishida, who became prime minister in October when COVID-19 curbs had been entirely ended across the country. Japan had seen a clear downtrend in newly confirmed coronavirus cases as vaccinations progressed. But the daily count topped 4,000 on Thursday for the first time since Sept. 18, with community spread of Omicron found in areas including Tokyo and Osaka.