Prime Minister Abe Shinzo says Japan has yet to reach a point where a declaration of a state of emergency is necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Abe spoke at an Upper House committee meeting on Wednesday about a recently revised law that would allow him to declare a state of emergency to fight the pandemic. He said he will decide whether to issue such a declaration by putting priority on protecting the lives and health of the public.
Abe said an emergency declaration can restrict people's rights, but it would not give enhanced authority to the prime minister or state.
He also said it would instead allow prefectural governors to make necessary requests and give orders.
Abe added that a state of emergency does not mean an immediate lockdown of cities. He said it would be impossible to implement such a measure like France did.
He indicated that the government may make various demands, but they will be slightly different from those done in France.
There has been a call for the budget committees of both chambers of the Diet to deliberate before an emergency is declared.
Abe said that if the Diet decides on it, he will fulfill his obligations. He said a declaration would mean that Japan is in a grave situation and that people need to understand it must be done quickly.