Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 11 - 17  > Koike criticizes passage of revised law enabling Abe to declare state of emergency over coronavirus outbreak
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2020 March 11 - 17 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Koike criticizes passage of revised law enabling Abe to declare state of emergency over coronavirus outbreak

March 15, 2020

A bill which enables the prime minister to declare a state of emergency over the ongoing coronavirus epidemic was enacted in the House of Councilors on March 13. The Liberal Democratic Party, Komei Party, “Nippon Ishin no Kai” party, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and Democratic Party for the People voted for the bill and the Japanese Communist Party and the "Reiwashinsengumi" party voted against it.

With the enactment of the bill to amend the current special measures law on countermeasures against new types influenza and other infectious diseases, the law can be applied to COVID-19. Under the law, the prime minister can issue a state of emergency declaration which authorizes governors to request self-isolation and the cancellation of public gatherings.

Later on the same day, JCP Secretariat Head Koike Akira took part in a televised debate on the revised law along with representatives of other political parties. It was broadcast live on BS Fuji as part of its news show, “Prime News”.

Koike criticized the law for having no concrete requirement for declaring a state of emergency, such as consultation with experts. He said, “In order to contain an infectious disease, it may be necessary to restrict people’s human rights to some degree, but this must be done very carefully and limited to the minimum necessary. However, the revised law can be used to curtail people’s rights almost limitlessly. This is a huge problem.” In addition, Koike pointed out that despite its gravity, the revised law was bludozed through after only three hours of discussion in the Lower House and four hours in the Upper House.

In response to Koike, LDP Policy Research Council Deputy Chairperson Shindo Yoshitaka argued that the government will implement the law carefully and respect expert opinions. Koike refuted that oral promises mean nothing as long as the law does not have written rules pertaining to the emergency declaration.

Koike cited the fact that PM Abe did not listen to professional opinions before announcing his decision to close all schools across the country and Japan's borders to people from China and South Korea. He said that the government should not use the revised law just to justify the government’s arbitrary decisions.

Nagatsuma Akira, vice chief of the CDPJ, said that if what Koike has warned occurs, it must be discussed in the Diet.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved