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Abe needs to gain public trust during state of emergency

17 2 0
08.04.2020

The month ahead will sorely try the patience and endurance of residents in Tokyo and six prefectures under a state of emergency that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared on April 7.

Abe and the governors of Tokyo as well as Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures have shouldered a heavy political responsibility and accountability.

Their political leadership is being tested in a fight to overcome the novel coronavirus crisis by gaining the understanding and cooperation from the public.

With no abatement of the pandemic in sight, Abe issued the declaration under a revised special measures law. It will remain in effect until May 6, when the holiday-studded Golden Week ends.

SERIOUSNESS OF CURTAILMENT OF PRIVATE RIGHTS

A little more than three weeks have passed since the enactment of the revised special measures law that covers the coronavirus outbreak.

Why did Abe decide to declare a state of emergency now?

Abe told a news conference on April 7 that infections were surging in major cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, creating a crisis for the health care system. As for the one-month duration, he explained this would be the length of time necessary to confirm the effectiveness of measures being implemented.

Abe did not consult any experts before issuing his abrupt requests for cancellations of events and nationwide school closings.

But the content of the declaration was decided with input from an advisory committee in keeping with the special measures law. Coupled with the fact that Abe notified the Diet of the declaration in advance and that lawmakers deliberated the issue, at least some degree of transparency was secured for the whole procedure.

Abe stressed that the declaration should not be equated with........

© The Asahi Shimbun