(TOKYO) The Japanese government is preparing, today, Friday, to declare a state of emergency again in Tokyo and three other departments, three months before the start of the Olympic Games scheduled in the Japanese capital, in the face of a sharp domestic escalation of the Corona virus. .
The measures will be tougher than the previous state of emergency imposed in parts of the country in January, while remaining significantly lighter than the lockdowns imposed in other parts of the world for more than a year.
“We have a strong sense of the crisis,” said Japanese minister in charge of fighting the virus, Yasutoshi Nishimura, on Friday.
“We will not be able to contain the variants that have strong infectious capabilities unless we take stronger measures than those that have been taken so far,” he added.
An official declaration of the state of emergency is expected later in the day, and the measure initially affected Tokyo and three western provinces: Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.
Establishments serving alcoholic beverages (restaurants, bars, karaoke …) will have to close their doors from this Sunday until May 11, as well as malls and supermarkets.
According to local media, these measures, which will coincide with the “Golden Week” holiday, a period of the year during which the Japanese travel a lot, may include suspending some train and bus lines to limit movement.
It is also possible that authorities in relevant departments will ban spectators from accessing sporting events, but officials have insisted that the emergency measures will not affect the launch of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Japanese archipelago, which closed its borders very quickly last year, has experienced a relatively limited health crisis, with fewer than 10,000 deaths officially recorded since January 2020.
But infections soared during the winter, despite the second state of emergency in most parts of the country, and recovered again after the package was removed in March.
Authorities in Osaka, the department currently hardest hit, said local health facilities were already overwhelmed.
Vaccination in Japan is advancing at a slow pace, between medical caution, regulatory brakes and bureaucratic red tape: Less than 1% of its population has been vaccinated so far.