COVID-19 pre-emergency curbs imposed on 3 prefectures

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Residents wait to be vaccinated at the Okinawa City government office on Saturday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japanese prefectures of Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima were placed under a COVID-19 state of pre-emergency on Sunday, enabling measures similar to those under a state of emergency to contain the rapid rise in the number of novel coronavirus infections.

The pre-emergency designation will last through Jan. 31, covering all of the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa, the city of Iwakuni and the town of Waki in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, and 10 cities and three towns in Hiroshima Prefecture, also western Japan, including the city of the same name.

The three prefectures will issue requests for restaurants and bars to shorten their operating hours to close at 8 p.m., as well as to suspend the serving of alcohol. But eateries in Okinawa that have received certifications for coronavirus prevention measures will be allowed to open until 9 p.m. and to serve alcohol.

It is the first time in three months that pre-emergency measures have been imposed in Japan, after the previous states of emergency and pre-emergency were lifted at the end of September 2021.

The central government revised its basic coronavirus response policy measures when deciding on the latest pre-emergency designation, allowing prefectural governors to request a halt to alcohol servings even at establishments with prevention measure certifications.