Coronavirus emergency law enacted

Japan’s Diet has enacted a law that will enable the prime minister to declare a state of emergency to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The Upper House approved the legislation on Friday with support from the governing coalition and some of the opposition parties. The Lower House passed the bill on Thursday.

A declaration of a state of emergency will enable prefectural governors to make various kinds of requests or orders. They include preventive measures such as asking people to stay home, as well as school closures.

Lawmakers also approved a supplementary resolution that calls for the government to give advance notice of a declaration to the Diet and make follow-up reports on the situation.

The law will go into effect on Saturday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the government will decide carefully whether to declare an emergency because it will have a serious impact on people’s lives.

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