Apr 16, 2020 - World

Japan declares nationwide state of emergency as coronavirus takes a toll

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L), wearing a face mask

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L), wearing a face mask during a coronavirus taskforce meeting. Photo: STR/JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a nationwide state of emergency and installed new measures to fight the coronavirus.

The big picture: Abe faced criticism for holding off on stricter measures because of possible damage to the economy. Roughly 80% of the public feels the response came too late, the Wall Street Journal writes, citing a Kyodo News poll.

  • Abe also said he intends to distribute approximately $1,000 to every person in Japan.

"The declaration ... amounted to an acknowledgment that [Abe's] efforts to keep Japan running normally had exposed the country to a potential sharp rise in coronavirus infections ... a potential lesson for the U.S. and European countries that are weighing when and how to resume everyday activities," WSJ writes.

The state of play: The emergency order, which will continue through at least May 6, will help officials convince nonessential businesses to shut down and issue work-from-home orders. Abe also recommended limited travel away from citizens' respective homes.

  • Japan’s number of infections has doubled every eight days and topped 8,600 as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins data.
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