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Japan’s Lower House passes bill enabling Abe to declare state of emergency over COVID-19

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TOKYO, March 12 (Xinhua) — The House of Representatives of Japan on Thursday passed a bill enabling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak if needed.
The bill won the approval at a plenary session of the The House of Representatives with a majority vote from the governing Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner Komeito, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party and others.
It is expected to clear the House of Councillors on Friday.
Once a declaration of emergency is made by Abe, prefectural governors can order that residents stay indoors and ask for school closures as well as event cancellations.
Meanwhile, local governments can demand that essential supplies such as medicine and food be sold to them. They can also temporarily take over private land and facilities to provide medical care.
According to Abe, the bill to revise the law on new types of influenza and infectious diseases is to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Earlier this week, he told the parliament that he would carefully weigh the need for an emergency declaration in view of its impact on society. Enditem

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