Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has announced that the government will temporarily suspend its "Go To Travel" campaign across the country from December 28 to January 11. The move is aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus infections during the year-end and New Year holidays.
Suga made the announcement at a government taskforce meeting on Monday evening.
Japanese authorities and experts are preparing for the next steps in the fight against the coronavirus as a crucial three-week period draws to a close. The panel of experts are calling on the government to stop giving a subsidy to travel to areas where cases are rising.
The experts met on Friday, just a few days out from the end of what they had called a critical three weeks. One of the agenda items was the government's domestic travel campaign which has been in place to support the pandemic-battered economy.
Japan's minister in charge of coronavirus response says he will work closely with relevant governors on the "Go To Travel" campaign. He says it is likely the campaign would extend its exclusion of Sapporo and Osaka, cities with many coronavirus cases.
Nishimura Yasutoshi spoke to reporters on Friday.
Japan's coronavirus advisory panel has discussed the government's travel campaign and how people should spend the year-end and New Year holidays amid the spike of infections in the country.
The panel met for three hours on Friday morning. Those taking part included Nishimura Yasutoshi, the minister in charge of the coronavirus response, and health minister Tamura Norihisa.
Japan's government will urge seniors and people with underlying health issues not to use its domestic tourism campaign to travel to and from Tokyo. The decision is in line with a request from the capital where coronavirus cases are surging.
Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko agreed on Tuesday that they will ask people aged 65 and older and those with existing health conditions to refrain from making such trips.
Travel agents are busy handling trip cancellations, after the government scaled back its domestic tourism campaign amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Japan.
The government decided on Tuesday to exclude Sapporo City in Hokkaido, northern Japan, and Osaka City in western Japan from the popular "Go To Travel" tourism promotion campaign. The two cities have recently been virus hot spots.
Japan's minister in charge of coronavirus response Nishimura Yasutoshi says the government is excluding some areas from its travel subsidy program to reduce the impact on local medical sectors.
Nishimura held a teleconference with Tokushima Governor Iizumi Kamon, who chairs the National Governors' Association, on Tuesday.
On this a three-day holiday weekend here in Japan, plenty of people have been venturing out and traveling, despite the risks of coronavirus infection.
Some people in Tokyo decided to view the autumn leaves, preferring to stay close to home rather than going far afield. There were 391 new coronavirus infections reported on Sunday in the capital. That's a drop from recent days, when over 500 cases were reported daily.
Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi says the government will announce a new direction for its "Go To" travel campaign in the coming days as coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply.
Nishimura said on an NHK program on Sunday that the government will impose some restrictions on the campaign, although he thinks there is nothing wrong with the program itself.