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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 4 - 10  > Shii talks with PM Abe regarding fight against COVID-19
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2020 March 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Shii talks with PM Abe regarding fight against COVID-19

March 5, 2020

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on March 4 held talks with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in the Diet building regarding the ongoing fight against the new coronavirus outbreak.

In the talks, Shii stressed that the battle to contain COVID-19 is a major challenge to which the ruling and opposition parties should unite to face up, and pointed out the problems in PM Abe’s basic stance toward the current health crisis.

Shii referred to the fact that PM Abe decided to announce a nationwide school closure without consulting experts. Stating, “It is hard to win the battle against COVID-19 with ‘political decisions’ not based on sound advice,” Shii urged PM Abe to seek and respect professional opinions.

Shii also criticized PM Abe for forcing through the school closure policy which deeply affects the everyday lives of children and their families without holding Diet discussions.

Shii said that in the past, the government had dealt with situations which could bring about a serious impact on people’s lives and safety by hearing the opinions of political parties through various channels, such as in-person meetings with party leaders. As an example, Shii cited the 1996 hostage crisis at the Japanese embassy in Peru and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. He said that in these cases, political party leaders held meetings frequently and the ruling and opposition parties jointly worked to implement necessary countermeasures.

Shii touched on the Abe government’s plan to draw up a second emergency package in the fight against the new virus as early as the beginning of next week. He demanded that PM Abe hold meetings with political party leaders and incorporate their proposals in the second package.

Meanwhile, PM Abe stressed the need to revise the current special measures law for infectious diseases to improve measures to cope with COVID-19 and asked the JCP’s cooperation for the revision.

In response, Shii pointed out that as the government has already taken measures in regard to the coronavirus crisis based on the law, there is no reason for a revision. Shii said that the JCP opposed the passage of the special measures law in 2012 because it includes the risk of putting excessive limits on the exercise of human rights.

Past related articles:
> Abe should listen to experts sincerely in efforts to contain new coronavirus [March 3, 2020]
> New coronavirus crisis rightly highlights anti-people nature of Abe government [March 1, 2020]
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