Japan's lawmakers debate state of emergency
NHK -- Mar 12
Japan's lawmakers are deliberating a bill that would allow the prime minister to declare a state of emergency to tackle the coronavirus. It has passed one stage in the approval process.

The minister in charge of the legislation, Yasutoshi Nishimura, was asked in a Diet committee whether the government plans to declare an emergency soon.

He instead emphasized the role experts would play in such a decision.

An emergency declaration by the prime minister would allow prefectural governors to order people to take preventive measures, such as staying at home.

The largest opposition party -- the Constitutional Democratic Party -- as well as others plan to vote yes on the bill. The Lower House committee approved the bill on Wednesday. The government hopes the Diet will pass it on Friday.

The number of confirmed cases in Japan has exceeded 580. The tally does not include about 700 people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship... or over a dozen who returned on chartered flights from China.

Twelve people have died from the virus in Japan...and 7 from the cruise ship. More than 400 people have left hospitals after recovering.

News source: NHK
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