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Japan governors call for balancing economic recovery, virus control

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe removes a protective face mask prior speaking during a news conference where he announces an extension of the nation's state of emergency amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo, Japan, 4 May, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/ Eugene Hoshiko/Pool). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Jun 4, 2020, Kyodo. Japan’s prefectural governors on Thursday came up with joint proposals for how to revive the country’s economy while preventing a second wave of infections amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Kyodo News reported.

Measures proposed during the online meeting of the National Governors’ Association included a review of how prefectures responded to the outbreak in terms of testing and medical care, and coordination with the central government on sharing anti-virus measures and analyzing infection routes.

Recognizing that the country is facing its biggest crisis of the postwar period, socially and economically, the governors plan to launch a team by this summer to jointly compile measures to fight the pandemic.

A state of emergency, initially imposed on Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April and later expanded to the whole country, was lifted in stages by May 25, but the country still faces the risk of a second wave of infections, with new cases in Tokyo showing signs of increasing again.

The capital reported 34 new cases on Tuesday, 12 on Wednesday and 28 on Thursday, after the figure had fallen to single digits.

In the southwestern city of Kitakyushu, a group of school children have been infected and cluster cases have occurred at medical institutions.

Ishikawa Gov. Masanori Tanimoto said hospitals that have accepted people infected with the virus need financial support from the central government.

The governors called for the continued promotion of telework and online meetings even after the lifting of the state of emergency, while stressing the need to achieve sustainable economic growth through administrative and economic decentralization.

The association’s conference was initially scheduled to be held in Shiga Prefecture but was moved online due to the spread of the virus.

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