Abe wants option to call state of emergency
NHK -- Mar 05
Japan's government is ramping up its battle against the coronavirus. The prime minister wants opposition leaders to back plans allowing him to declare a state of emergency should that become necessary.

This comes as the number of infections reported in the nation climbs above 1,000... including over 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Shinzo Abe has met with leaders from five opposition parties. He wants their support to pass legislation giving him the option of declaring a state of emergency if the outbreak worsens. Should it be called, a state of emergency would give more power to Abe and governors in affected areas.

They would be able to take steps such as curbing opening hours at department stores and movie theaters.

Authorities would also be able to use buildings and land without the consent of owners for medical purposes.

Abe said, " The coming one or two weeks are crucial time. We're doing all we can so that I don't have to declare an emergency."

Meanwhile, schools across the country have been closed for lessons since Monday... but some are opening classrooms for students to use.

At an elementary school in the central city of Nagoya, children have been doing homework and reading books. They've been told not to sit too close to each other and to wash their hands every hour.

With school out, some teenagers are gathering at game centers, karaoke parlors and fast food outlets.

A teenage girl in Tokyo said, " I am walking around doing some window-shopping, and I also did some karaoke."

A teenage boy said, " I was told not to go outside, but it's boring to stay at home."

Some amusement centers are turning teenagers away. Young people are being criticized on social media for ignoring advice to stay home. Other posts question whether school closures are necessary.

Face masks have been in short supply across the country, despite round-the-clock production. More than 6,000 have been stolen from a warehouse near Tokyo.

People in this welfare center, east of the capital, started making their own masks after the facility ran out of stock. Their handiwork has sparked orders from outside... and now they're making hundreds of sets to sell.

News source: NHK
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